Histadrut chief threatens public sector general strike

Ofer Eini's threat comes as Finance Minister Yair Lapid submitted a budget proposal, which includes cutting public sector salaries.

"Unless negotiations are held immediately and a collective agreement for the public sector is signed, we will take every measure available to us to defend the workers' rights and prevent harm to the workers and pensioners," threatened Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Finance Yair Lapid.

Eini is threatening Netanyahu and Lapid with a general public sector strike. He wrote that, just a year ago, the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) launched a general strike, after which it reached a deal with the government "to help poor workers and narrow gaps and inequality in the workplace."

Eini says that these principles have not been implemented and that government conduct raises concern about "a deliberate policy of foot-dragging and abandoning workers' rights."

Eini's letter comes after Lapid submitted a budget proposal to Netanyahu which includes cutting public sector salaries, something that Eini will not permit without a fight.

"There are harsh cutbacks which will harm the financial condition of workers and pensioners. The public is now struggling under the heavy burden that is affecting both the middle class and the poor," said Eini. "We strongly oppose this unilateral conduct… There is no one to defend these hundreds of thousands of workers and households who earn a living with their own hands and put their trust in the Histadrut, because it will defend them and insist on their right to live and earn a living with dignity."

Eini is basically telling Lapid and Netanyahu that he will not accept another defeat like the Open Skies agreement, which the cabinet passed on Sunday without prior talks with the union.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 24, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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