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The largest trade union in Israel on Thursday threatened to go on strike within the next couple of weeks unless the treasury agreed to amend a plan that could cause thousands of workers to lose their jobs.

The chairman of the Histadrut labor federation, Ofer Eini, said the planned budgetary cutbacks in governmental offices were unacceptable and could cause thousands of civil servants to lose their jobs. Eini called on the treasury to adopt changes to 2007 Economics Arrangement Law in order to secure thousands of jobs.

"We cannot agree to a situation in which the government decides on broad budgetary cutbacks in governmental offices without consulting with the labor unions of the various offices or without addressing the Federation of Labor as the mother organization of the workers," Eini said.

He also said the planned cutbacks would increase privatization of services which were previously under state control.

Eini called on Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson to immediately start negotiations with Histadrut representatives.

The Histadrut is the oldest labor union in Israel and has some 700,000 members.