General strike called in Israel

Feb. 8, 2012 at 8:57 AM

TEL AVIV, Israel, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Israel's main labor union called a general strike Wednesday after leaders failed to reach a deal with the government on outsourcing.

Ofer Eini, chairman of the Histadrut union, met with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz Tuesday in Jerusalem to try to reach agreement on outsourced worker conditions, Haaretz reported. Steinitz said the strike at Ben-Gurion International Airport, government offices, public hospitals and other locations could be costly to Israel's economy.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is reportedly considering intervening to end the crisis, the newspaper said.

Eini said the union has reached a deal with the Coordinating Bureau of Economic Organizations, which represents private employers, meeting Histadrut's demand that outsourced workers who have been employed full time for at least one to two years be hired directly by their employer instead of working for an employment agency. Workers who continue to work for an employment agency would have their salaries and benefits brought in line with those of regular employees, Haaretz reported.

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