Knesset Aides Stage 'Worker's Meal' Protest

Workers in the Knesset are faces with a 30% increase in the price of meals, but no increase in already low pay.

Gabe Kahn,

Workers Must Eat!
Workers Must Eat!
Hezki Ezra

Parliamentary aides continued a boycott of the Knesset cafeteria on Wednesday. A group of Knesset aides from across the political spectrum gathered to hold their own “workers’ meal” of bread, hummus, salad, crackers and tuna.

They are protesting high prices at the cafeteria. “We are here for long periods of time, sometimes more than 12 hours a day, and we can’t handle the high prices in the cafeteria,” one aide told Arutz Sheva. “We hope the management of the Knesset will take notice.”

Last month, the franchisee that had been running the Knesset cafeteria was replaced, leading to a 30% unilateral rise in prices.

Arik Ben Shimon, assistant to MK Uri Ariel, said that it is unthinkable not to take into account all the employees of the Knesset. "We understand the need for franchisees to make a profit so as not to fire workers during the break, but they do not have to do this to the aides."

"You can have subsidized mean prices for the Knesset staff who can present a certificate, while visitors from outside can pay the higher price," he said.

Rita Price, assistant to MK Whbee, said "The daily work of the Knesset is from sunrise to nightfall and leaders need to consider the workers, especially the parliamentary aides, who are forced to settle for relatively low wages and spend at least NIS 500 out of pocket for meals in the building.

"At other government buildings the cost of subsidized meals for workers does not exceed NIS 5 for a full meal. It is regrettable that parliamentary aides are expected to remain indifferent in the face of an absurd situation wherein our wages aren't even adjusted for the cost of the meals available to us in the Knesset cafeteria.

"I intend to stay away from the cafeteria and I hope my friends do likewise," she said. "This way we will influence the Knesset management, which will hopefully announce a return to the old prices for employees."

Another assistant said instead that "This situation causes an erosion of the value of worker's wages, so that they do not meet the basic cost of living."


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