Israel braces for nationwide strike

Nov. 6, 2011 at 8:57 AM
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JERUSALEM, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Sunday called on the Histradut Labor Federation to cancel a nationwide strike planned for Monday.

Demanding that the employment status of contract workers be changed, Histadrut head Ofer Eini called for an indefinite nationwide strike to start Monday morning. The strike will effect all public transport, government offices, banks, hospitals, universities, seaports, the stock exchange, Ben Gurion International Airport and local and regional councils, The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and Maariv said.

The Histadrut is trying to ensure that all cleaning and maintenance staff employed as contract workers in the public sector move to direct employment and receive an improved benefits package.

Eini told Army Radio only an injunction from the National Labor Court will prevent the strike going ahead.

At Sunday's cabinet meeting, Netanyahu called on the Histadrut to cancel the strike.

"We must find a solution that will not hurt Israel's economy at a time when the world markets are in turmoil. The government under my authority and the Histadrut see eye to eye on the welfare of workers," the prime minister's office quoted Netanyahu saying.

The strike could cost an estimated NIS330 million ($89 million) a day. On Sunday evening the National Labor Court is expected to discuss an injunction filed by the Union of Local Authorities, The Post said.

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