[OPE-L] Public sector strike in the Holy Land...

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Wed Nov 29 2006 - 14:31:51 EST

Last update - 09:49 29/11/2006 Nationwide strike grounds flights, shuts
gov't offices

By Haim Bior, Haaretz Correspondent, and Israel Radio

A major public-sector strike over unpaid wages of workers in some local
authorities began early Wednesday morning, cancelling outgoing flights at
Ben-Gurion International Airport, paralyzing seaports ports and all train
lines, and closing of land borders, government offices, employment
bureaus, courts, National Insurance Institute branches, the Israel Lands
Administration and the vehicle licensing offices.

If the strike does not end within two days, a shortage of gasoline may
ensue, as fuel will not be delivered to gas stations.

Official documents like passports will not be issued, and functioning
assessment committees at the National Insurance Institute will not meet. No
mail will be delivered.

The local authority strike means that garbage will not be collected and
parking tickets will not be issued.

The chief of the Histadrut trade unions department, Tsahi Tabakman, said
Tuesday the strike would not at this point include the health system (health
maintenance organizations, hospitals, well-baby clinics or Magen David
Adom), special education, the defense industries, the Egged and Dan bus
lines, the Broadcasting Authority, day-care centers, residential schools and
the Israel National Roads Company. All banks will operate as usual, except
the Bank of Israel, which will be closed.

The reason for the strike is the partial or total withholding of salaries of
about 12,000 workers in dozens of local authorities, and the non-transfer of
money deducted for pension plans and educational training funds for 40,000
workers in local authorities.

Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson met late Tuesday evening with Interior
Minister Ronny Bar-On and chairman of the Histadrut labor federation, Ofer
Eini, in an attempt to avoid the strike, but the meeting failed to produce

"All we want is for the local authorities to pay all the salaries coming to
the workers and transfer the money to the workers funds as should be done in
a proper country," Histadrut chairman Eini said Tuesday.

Complete story: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/794209.html

Hundreds of thousands of people across the country have been affected by the
general strike. Over 12,000 local and religious council workers have yet to
receive a single paycheck in months. On the other side, the rest of the
country is now being forced to pay the price of an ongoing dispute between
the Finance Ministry and the Histadrut Labor Federation.
Muhammad Nasser, a teacher employed by the Arabe Regional Council and a
father of five, has not been paid for the past 12 months. "I am in real
distress. I have no other choice but to borrow money from relatives. I feel
humiliated every single day," he told Army Radio. In our family, there is an
emphasis on education. Our savings for the kids' higher education no longer
exist. It's a daily struggle. Every 5 or 10 shekels matter. I am no longer a
provider for my family," he said. "Employees in this country are treated
like slaves. I call on [Histadrut Chairman] Ofer Eini to stand strong and
not give up. This has to be solved once and for all but there is not a
single reliable person in the government."

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