The Israeli labor federation launched a public strike Tuesday morning, to protest the failure to pay the wages of some 20,000 employees of the local municipalities and the religious councils, as well as to protest against a cut in the 2005 budget that will lower the wages of civil servants and see hundreds laid off.
The federation chairman Amir Peretz said after anouncing the strike, "Wages must be paid on any condition. The government is treating salaries as donations. The workers have become hostages."
According to Haaretz daily, the strike is affecting all government ministries, municipal authorities, government companies and transportation, including the national airline El Al.
The strike at the Interior Ministry will affect the issuing of passports and identity cards, and all other official government documents pertaining to private citizens.
Similarly, employment offices will not receive the public, and no unemployment dues will be paid nor will the National Insurance Institute make payments to those authorized to receive state support.
As in previous strikes in the municipal authorities, garbage will not be collected.
Railways will also strike except for a number of destinations that will be kept running to facilitate the transportation of soldiers.
The sea ports will also be affected, with no loading and unloading of ships in Haifa, Ashdod and Eilat ports. (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )