Cabinet Ministers Freeze 2007 Salaries

A media report charging government heads with hiking their salaries in 2007 while freezing the minimum wage and slashing welfare payments has prompted a change of heart in the Olmert administration.

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Hana Levi Julian, | updated: 19:44

Monday’s report on the Globes business website accused cabinet ministers, Knesset members and top civil workers of giving themselves generous raises in the 2007 budget worth hundreds of thousands of shekels.

At the same time, ministries across the board have been asked to carry out painful budget cuts which affect the quality of life for Israelis who live at and below the poverty line.

The report sparked a quick response by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who announced on Tuesday that Kadima party ministers would freeze their 2007 salaries and asked Knesset members to join them. Globes reported that the remaining cabinet members have also agreed to freeze their wages next year.

Labor Knesset member Avishai Braverman was one of the first to sign up, saying “The automatic salary hikes for senior officials should be abolished.” Braverman added that salary hikes for senior officials were immoral when needy families were suffering cuts to their monthly payments.

Several other Knesset members have agreed to the wage freeze as well. If the Knesset as a whole adopts the measure, top civil servants will also be faced with a wage freeze because their salaries are linked to those of the Knesset members.