Israel's Histadrut, Treasury Fail to Avert Strike

Published June 8th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Histadrut leader Amir Peretz and Finance Minister Avraham Shochat Wednesday failed to reach an agreement to prevent the general strike declared by the Histadrut labor federation as of next Monday, reported Haaretz Thursday. 

In the meeting, attended also by Finance Ministry Director General Prof. Avi Ben-Bassat and the leaders of the labor unions, Shochat suggested setting up a joint committee for the treasury and the Histadrut, to discuss all the items under dispute. Said the Israeli daily. But Peretz rejected the proposal and demanded that the treasury first announce that those items in the reform to which the Histadrut objects be deleted from the slated reform, it added. 

According to Haaretz, the Histadrut objects to the taxation of supplemental training funds and provident funds, the cancellation of tax exemption for night-shift work and the half tax credit for working women. 

The Association of Secondary School Teachers announced the Wednesday that it would join the strike. Avraham Ben-Shabat, secretary general of the Teachers Union, said the union had at first intended not to strike, but now that they realized the teachers' supplemental training funds would also be taxed they are seriously considering joining the strike, reported the paper. 

The 14,000 employees of the Israel Aircraft Industries will be going on strike on Sunday, said the report. 

The daily quoted Oded Tirah, president of the Manufacturers' Association and Danny Gillerman, president of the Israeli Chamber of Commerce, as saying they agree with the Histadrut's objection to the reform, and especially to the taxation of supplemental training funds. However, they called the Histadrut to find other ways to conduct their campaign and not to launch the planned strike, which, they say, would cause NIS 450 million and NIS 600 million in damages a day. 

The strike will encompass all government offices, local authorities, government companies (such as Bezeq, the refineries and the military industries), the Airports Authority, the Railroad Authority, the postal authority, the government hospitals, Clalit HMO clinics, the banks, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, the Histadrut's pension funds and unionized private factories, said Haaretz – 


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