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Photo: Moti Kimchi
Photo: Moti Kimchi
Photo: Moti Kimchi
Head of Israel's organized labor calls for nationwide strike
Failed talks with treasury officials on the issue of contract workers cause the labor chief to call for a massive strike that could shut down key government and civil bodies.

The head of Israel's organized labor, Avi Nissenkorn, said Tuesday that the Histadrut labor federation was preparing for an unrelenting battle on the issue of contract workers as he called for a general strike to begin on July 22. According to him, the issue of contract workers is present in every aspect of life.

 

 

"Teachers are turning into contract workers. Our kid's teachers. I cant understand it. It's not acceptable. How can it be that a teacher is a contract worker and receive two months unemployment pay after 10 months of work? How can we teach our kids values when every year their teacher has to file for two months of unemployment?"

 

Social Workers – The face of the state

The chairman also spoke on the issue of social workers, saying, "When someone needs help from the state, they come to a social worker. Think about this picture: someone comes to a social worker and says I'm a contract worker and the social worker in front of him is a contract worker as well. Sitting and crying together. Social work should be a respected job.

 

"65% of the pre-medical workers at Tel Hashomer hospital are contract workers. Two-thirds. Where is the public responsibility? They are ruining the public health system and hurting the worker's status. They are harming the most important fields - health, education, and welfare, by turning them into contract workers.

 

 

The labor Chief Avi Nissenkorn (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
The labor Chief Avi Nissenkorn (Photo: Moti Kimchi)

 

The workers federation threatened that the failed talks with the finance ministry would lead to a general strike. The federation has been in a state of labor dispute since November 2014 due to the issue of contract labor. A strike should shut down a long list of unionized facilities and organizations, including government offices and public service bodies like the Tax Authority, Airport Authority, National Insurance Institute, the local councils, ports and education facilities, as well as private industries where workers are unionized through the federation, like cellular and insurance companies.

 

Protesters at the press conference (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
Protesters at the press conference (Photo: Moti Kimchi)

 

Nissenkorn visited Ynet's studio Monday, and demanded that the Finance Minister, Moshe Kahlon, call the treasury officials to order. "Kahlon understands the problem and presented his concerns. However, the problem is with the treasury officials," he said. "I expect the finance minister to call his officials to order. I don’t understand why a teacher needs to be a contract worker, why social workers and cleaners have to be contract workers."

 

In recent weeks federation and treasury representatives have been meeting in the hopes of signing a collective contract for government workers. Additionally there have been talks on taking care of the problem of contract workers in state services, as a result of the recent labor dispute that happened before the last elections. That labor dispute ended in an agreement with the government to raise the minimum wage, increase the amount of disabled workers in public service and conduct negotiations on the issue of contract workers.

 

In recent days, the talks on contract workers began and abruptly ended. The federation blames the treasury officials for scuttling the talks through a refusal to deal with any point the federation brought up, due to problematic conditions with a specific group of contract workers.

 

The treasury officials say that the federation is not conducting a real negotiation, and that the federation representatives refuse to talk about specific worker groups and the unification of steps to increase management flexibility in government jobs.

 

 

 

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