Histadrut launches general public sector strike

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
After final attempts to come to an agreement failed, the Histadrut (Israeli trade union) labor federation launched a strike early Wednesday morning of the general public sector affecting the postal service, airports and banks, to name a few.

Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini held a meeting on Tuesday night with Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson and Interior Minister Roni Bar-On in an attempt to avert the strike, but failed.

According to the Histadrut, 81 local authorities and 13 religious councils have failed to pay employees or transfer money to pension funds for months, affecting at least 40,000 workers. The Histadrut estimates a total of 1 billion shekels ($232 million) is owed.

The government said the regional council’s poor planning and mismanagement led them to near bankruptcy. Some of the institutions on strike include government offices, the Postal Authority, customs, airports, the Bank of Israel, religious councils, phone companies and many more.

El Al Israel Airlines decided its 13 flights scheduled to depart Wednesday would take off before 6 a.m.

Administrative workers in higher education institutions and teacher assistants in kindergartens will also be on strike. Health maintenance organizations, hospitals, special education, Magen David Adom emergency response, Israel National Water Company, buses, Israel Broadcasting Authority, daycare centers and Israel National Roads Company will operate as usual.

The finance minister called on the Histadrut to end the strike and continue the negotiations. According to Hirchson, most local authority workers could be paid within days. Hirchson said he would resume negotiations once the strike ends.

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