Defense Ministry Employees to Join General Strike
The union of Defense Ministry employees announced on Sunday evening that it will join the general strike that is planned to begin at 6:00 a.m. (Israel time) Monday morning, and plans to express its support for the Histadrut labor union’s struggle for contract workers.
The Histadrut has called the strike to protest conditions for workers contracted by manpower services, a method often used by employers to allow freedom in hiring and firing as well as to avoid paying benefits and higher wages.
The strike would affect banks, schools, transportation (including Ben Gurion airport), and government offices.
The union of Defense Ministry’s employees’ announcement would have meant that essential defense services such as the operation of the Iron Dome batteries, which often shoot down missiles fired at southern Israel’s communities, would have been affected by the strike as well.
The National Emergency Authority (NEA), the Defense Ministry body responsible for coordinating military and civilian action during a state of emergency, war or natural disaster, would have shut down operations as well.
In order to prevent this from happening, the Defense Ministry’s Director-General approached union chairman Eliezer Hasson and asked him to refrain from shutting down these services. Hasson agreed after receiving approval from the Histadrut’s special exceptions committee.
However, during the strike there will be no responses to public inquiries, no meetings with suppliers, no discussions with the army, and no provisions for travel services abroad.
“During the general strike, employees of the Ministry of Defense will only provide the necessary emergency services relating to the security of Israel and its citizens,” Hasson said on Sunday. “We hope that the Israeli government will reach understandings with the Histadrut in the near future, so that we can resume our regular work.”
Meanwhile, the Manufacturers’ Association and The Federation of Israeli Economic Organizations have filed an appeal to the National Labor Court to issue a no-strike order, saying that a strike would cause extensive damage to the economy.
A meeting of the court on the issue ended shortly after 3:00 a.m. (Israel time) Monday morning. The judges heard all sides and are expected to announce their decision within several hours.