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The National Labor Court once again put off responding to the Histadrut labor federation's request to allow it to renew its general strike over the conditions of contract workers. The court will not allow a strike in the next two weeks.

National Labor Court President Judge Nili Arad told the Histadrut to inform the court by Thursday as to the scope of the strike it plans to call; and the Finance Ministry and employers organizations will have until January 5, 2012, to respond. Only on Sunday, January 8, will a full panel of judges meet to hear the claims - and there is no reason to assume any decision will be taken even then.

The Histadrut called a general strike at the beginning of November, but the court halted it after four hours and sent the sides to negotiate. The Histadrut now says that no real progress has been made in the talks with the treasury and it asked the court to allow it to renew the strike. The treasury says the Histadrut's demands are simply too costly, but is willing to increase wages and improve conditions for contract workers, as well as give some of them permanent positions, particularly those who have worked in the same place for a long time.