After 43 days, a breakthrough has finally occurred in the prosecutors' strike: Yesterday, the attorneys reached an agreement with the Finance Ministry to send their pay dispute to arbitration.
As a result, the prosecutors are likely to return to work this morning. However, the details of the agreement were still being ironed out as of press time last night, so a last-minute breakdown in the talks remained possible.
Former National Labor Court President Steve Adler has been chosen as the arbitrator, and he agreed to postpone a planned trip abroad to take on the task. He has promised to render a decision in 30 days.
The sides have tentatively agreed that prosecutors will get a 12 percent raise - a figure reached during marathon talks yesterday. But Adler will decide on the level of reimbursement they will receive for travel and cell phone expenses.
The deal was reached under heavy pressure from Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch and Justices Asher Grunis and Esther Hayut, who actively worked to broker it. On Tuesday, the director general of the Prime Minister's Office, Eyal Gabai, had proposed an 8 percent raise plus another 4 percent to cover expenses. At the justices' urging, however, the raise was upped to 12 percent yesterday, with Adler to determine an additional sum to cover expenses.
Gabai initially opposed this increase, saying he feared it would have a domino effect on wage negotiations with other unions. But Beinisch dismissed this argument, saying the justices were "unconvinced by this fear-mongering that 4 percent will burst all the dikes."
A source in the prosecutors union proclaimed the deal a major victory, since until a few weeks ago, the treasury had refused to consider any significant raise.
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