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Local authority debts to their workers in pension allocations alone total some NIS 500 million, Histadrut labor federation sources said over the weekend. They added that they also owe hundreds of millions of shekels in back wages.

The Histadrut submitted its summaries to the National Labor Court last week. Court President Steven Adler will hold a hearing today, in which the Histadrut is petitioning the court to oblige municipalities and local councils to transfer the pension contributions to the workers' retirement funds.

The Histadrut charges that the Union of Local Authorities, which incorporates 263 local authorities, has shirked its responsibilities toward workers. "Only preventing the sickness of non-payment of wages in the local authorities will avert the spreading of this phenomenon to other work places," the petition charged.

The summaries come in response to ULA claims that it has no means to pay workers' salaries on time or to make pension contributions. The local authorities blame the state for breaking its commitments. The ULA also holds the Histadrut responsible for the sad state of the workers because it has yet to sign agreements for implementing recovery plans in all the local authorities, and had done so in just a handful.