"There can be no social justice without ending the contract workers' situation. We have here workers who supposedly work for one employer but de facto work for another who earns commission for them. A kind of slave trade is forming here," Eini declared.
The Labor Union will now be able to launch a general strike in two weeks, which will include airports, naval ports, train services, government ministries and local authorities. Emergency and health services will operate in weekend mode.
If the teachers' unions join in – what is unlikely to happen – the entire education system will go on strike.
It is still unclear whether banks and private factories would cease operations as well. In previous general strikes, they did not strike but in this case there is a high probability that they would due to the involvement of social protest groups that are not part of the public sector.
The students have also announced that they are considering not opening the 2011-12 academic year.
Also on Tuesday, the junior academic staff at Israel's universities has announced that it would not open the academic year on October 30 in protest over the employment of contract workers.
They are demanding that the university heads committee allocate NIS 60 million ($16.30 million) of the funds allocated for the academic education reform plan to create better working conditions and promotion opportunities for the junior staff.
It is estimated that there are over 400,000 contract workers, mostly in the public sector. The Manpower Companies Law requires firms that employ workers via recruitment agencies to take them in as regular staff after a period of nine months.
The law is implemented although employers have found a way to bypass it: most contract workers are employed in companies defined as "external" and therefore the law does not include them.
On Monday, social protest leaders announced mass rallies to be held on October 29 and then on November 1 as part of "the first nation's strike". A general strike, if it goes through, could begin on October 26 although in most cases it begins only after several days of negotiations, which would make it coincide with the social protest leaders' mass rally date.
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