The Histadrut umbrella union hotline has received 200 calls from Haifa and northern district employees whose employers refuse to pay part or all of their July wages.

"Hundreds of workers at companies, workshops and small businesses in the north never received their entire July paycheck," says the union's situation room manager, Jihad Akel.

Akel says the Histadrut estimates that the number of people who haven't been paid is triple the number of calers to the hotline.

Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini called on Industry and Trade Ministry Eli Yishai to redirect resources from the ministry to enforce legislation that requires July salaries to be paid.

The law was ratified about 10 days ago after the treasury, the business sector and labor representatives hammered out a compensation package. Thursday was the last date for paying July salaries.

Eini told Yishai, "Workers in the North who are not being paid, and their families, encounter financial difficulties and are forced to deal not only with the security, family and personal risks, but with a serious financial crisis. Workers who are not being paid, and their families, cannot be the strong home front that stands strong in wartime."

Eini renewed his proposal that 300 Histadrut employees be placed - free of charge - as inspectors in workplaces to oversee implementation of the wage law.

"I will provide the minister with the Histadrut staffers so we can ensure that salaried employees in the North get their entire salaries on time."

Eini promised to transfer data on the complaints received by the hotline regarding failure to pay wages and associated sums, to facilitate rapid enforcement of worker rights. He called on workers in the North who did not receive all or part of their salaries to call the situation room and complain about employers who are violating the law.

Zeev Weiner, the president of an umbrella organization for the self-employed, yesterday called on the cabinet and members of the Knesset Finance Committee to enact regulations that will enable small business owners in Haifa and the North to receive unemployment benefits for a limited period, in order to prevent their financial collapse.

Weiner stated "Tens of thousands of small businesses in northern Israel are in dire straits now and face immediate bankruptcy, and they have no employment alternatives."