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Minister of Finance Avraham Hirchson and chairman of the Histadrut labor union Ofer Eini will meet today to commence negotiations between the Histadrut and the treasury on a new wage agreement for 800,000 employees of the public sector.

The Histadrut demands that the employees receive a wage increase of 13 percent, 8 percent of which would be compensation for wage erosion and an additional 5 percent constituting an increase. According to sources in the Histadrut, tens of thousands of state employees earn less than minimum wage. The treasury is willing to grant an increase of "less than 10 percent", according to sources in the ministry, and wants the agreement to cover a number of years.

The Histadrut will also demand that employment through temporary contracting companies be limited in government offices and local authorities, since the low wages of such employees depresses the wages of regular employees.

Negotiations are being handled by the treasury's budget director Kobi Haber and wages director Eli Cohen, as well as Histadrut leaders of the various sectoral unions.