The Municipality of Jerusalem sent pink slips to 170 sanitation workers in the city on Thursday morning. The move is part of a larger scale plan to cut down on city spending by laying off close to 2,000 city employees over the coming months.
The layoffs will hit almost all sectors of employment under the city’s supervision, including education, social welfare, maintenance, city operations and culture centers.
Due to the cutback, the layoffs are expected to have a significant impact on city services. According to sources at City Hall, if a commitment isn’t decided upon today to provide extra funding for security guards in and around schools, then the level of security and the hours of security personnel will need to be scaled back to where it was before the recent wave of terror.
“The extensive cutbacks are being instituted due to the fact that as of January 1st, the city does not have a budget with which to pay employees or run planned programs throughout the city. Since there has not been any headway made in discussion with the Finance Ministry to submit the budgets for the city, we are forced to take this step. Under the current situation the city has to make a major cutback in social welfare, education and cultural expenditures. This is in an effort to comply with the law that forces Jerusalem to submit a balanced budget, and not one that is in the red.”
City council sources also said that “Mayor Nir Barkat received unanimous support from all segments of the city council.”
Barkat went on record to discuss the issue. “This decision is one that is far too difficult to bear, but unfortunately, we have no choice. The refusal of the Finance Ministry to transfer funds to the city’s budget prevents us from continuing to provide the services that the city has offered its citizens and forced us to take this harsh measure to layoff workers that are necessary for the upkeep of this city. It has also caused us to cut deeply into the budgets for social services, education, and culture which means that there will be thousands more city employees who will need to be laid off in our city.”
“At this time of terror we expected to receive significant support from the government, and what we got was a cold shoulder. Without the transfer of governmental funds to the city of Jerusalem, we will have no refuge from making drastic and painful cuts which will bring about another major blow to Israel’s capital. One that will hit every single citizen of this city.”
The layoffs come just as the city of Jerusalem gears up for what appears to be this year’s worst winter storm, which is expected to include snowfall over the weekend.