Union Unplugs Traffic Jam

The Union of Local Authorities called off a protest that was to clog Jerusalem roads and instead reached an accord with the government.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu ,

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz
Israel News Photo; Flash 90

The Union of Local Authorities Monday morning called off a protest that was to clog Jerusalem roads, and instead it reached a compromise accord with the government over the Economics Arrangements bill that accompanies the budget.

The union on Sunday warned air travelers from the capital to keep away from the airport in order not to miss flights due to approaches to the city being jammed by protesting garbage truck drivers. The union charged that the proposed budget cuts will force several municipal authorities and regional councils to close down and will put 600 people out of work.

The Netanyahu economic plan includes financial aid for private companies in order to prevent layoffs and to encourage job growth.

The compromise agreement between the union and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz includes financial grants to help regional councils and towns balance their budgets. Local authorities also are to receive more authority for inspectors.

The government also agreed to establish a fund to transfer money from more financially stable cities and councils to those that are weaker.

“I am very sorry that after four months of continuing efforts to hold negotiations, the government remembered only at the last moment when the massive protest was ready to take place,” said union leader Shlomo Bohbut.