Ofer Eini
Ofer Eini. Photo by Moti Milrod
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The Histadrut labor federation's chairman announced on Tuesday he will leave the position he has filled since 2006 next year on February 1.

Ofer Eini will step down in the middle of his third term, which be began in May 2012. He made his announcement to the heads of the various factions of the political coalition that runs the Histadrut. Eini has made clear that he intends to designate as his successor Avi Nissenkorn, chairman of the Histadrut's trade union division, and that he will recommend Nissenkorn's appointment to the Histadrut's legislative assembly. Among the other candidates to succeed Eini are Arnon Bar-David, chairman of the union of administrative public service employees and MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) who ran against Eini in the last Histadrut elections and lost.

Eini has scaled back his own activities at the Histadrut in recent weeks with many of the major recent crises in labor relations, including the dispute over the government's plan to establish privately run ports, handled by Nissenkorn.

“I feel a sense of exhaustion and have the desire to embark upon a new path,” Eini said on Tuesday. He remarked upon his time at the Histadrut as one of great and historic successes, including the implementation of mandatory pensions for all Israeli employees, the creation of collective bargaining contracts for temporary workers and an increase in the minimum wage. He added that what he viewed as the high point of the labor federation successes, the unionization of hundreds of non-union workplaces and their employees' affiliation with the Histadrut, was just now coming to fruition.

Two years ago there were rumors that Eini was going to leave his post at the Histadrut for a senior position in the private sector, possibly at one of the companies controlled by Israeli tycoon Nochi Dankner. Recently, Eini's political standing was weakened by the Netanyahu's establishment of a government coalition with Yesh Atid's leader Yair Lapid and Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett. Eini's ambition to create a tripartite roundtable for discussing policy issues with the participation of the heads of the Finance Ministry's divisions, the Histadrut and private employers was not implemented. His standing with the Histadrut's traditional political partner, the Labor Party, has also diminished recently as his relations with party leader Shelly Yacimovich are no longer as positive as they had once been.