Egged employees announced that as of Monday, all drivers will cease company bus operations as part of a nationwide strike following a dispute with management.
The Histradrut trade union claimed that the announcement was made following "unilateral measures taken by the Company's management and (after) the negotiations blew up between the parties."
According to employees, the core of the argument is that Egged bus drivers, who earn about 32- 33 shekels per hour (about $8), are the lowest paid among drivers of public transportation in Israel.
Additionally, drivers claim that Egged management's is taking unilateral economizing measures that violate the workers' legal and contractual rights.
The Histadrut announced that in an effort to prevent unnecessary harm and out of a sense of responsibility to travelers, particularly to soldiers, it was decided that the strike would not begin on Sunday, the busiest day for public transport.
Avi Edri, Histadrut Transport Workers Union chairman, said Thursday, “it is unbelievable that a company which has been around since the establishment of the state will pay the lowest hourly rate among public transit, and also unilaterally cut the workers' pay. We intend to employ all the means at our disposal to maintain the salaries, honor, and status of Egged employees."
Egged spokesman Ron Ratner said in response, "the threat of a strike by the workers and the Histadrut arises from recent arguments between the government and the independent public transport companies, agreements that do not include Egged drivers, and that will lead to a rise in drivers' pay funded by the Ministry of Finance.
"As part of the negotiations conducted in recent days, the workers and the Histadrut were presented with solutions, among them a commitment that the pay of Egged drivers will not be less than the norm in the industry. It was made clear that the workers' demands can only be dealt with in the framework of the new agreement between Egged and the government, which is currently being negotiated.
“On the basis of the commitment given to the workers and the Histadrut, we urge employees to avoid an unnecessary strike which will cause harm to the passengers and customers of Egged."