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The general strike is on and starts Wednesday, announced Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer Eini at a press conference today.
To avert the nationwide shutdown, says the umbrella union, the government must immediately transfer money to 40 local authorities and 16 religious councils, that have been too broke to pay their workers for months.

That said, the uber-union has not clarified exactly which sectors the strike will encompass.

Yesterday Eini wrote a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, demanding that the cabinet hold an emergency meeting to approve money transfers to the bankrupt local governments that can't pay their workers.

The Chambers of Commerce estimates that the economy loses NIS 500 million a day from nationwide strikes. It called on the government to impose personal sanctions on leaders of local governments that withhold pay, and in parallel called on the Histadrut to refrain from calling the strike, because of the harm to the public and the economy.

The Manufacturers Association also slammed the government, which has had months to address the financial problems of local government and nonpayment of wages, but didn't.