Israeli Labor Federation Set to Call National Strike Over Construction Deaths

Some 36 construction workers have died in workplace accidents this year, while two visitors have also died at construction sites

Gili Melnitzki
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
A construction site in Bnei Brak, Israel.
A construction site in Bnei Brak, Israel.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Gili Melnitzki

The Histadrut Labor Federation is expected to call a nationwide strike due to the government’s inaction over construction site deaths.

To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz

Israel’s largest union is planning an emergency meeting for Thursday to discuss the matter. Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkorn is expected to announce a nationwide strike, after the government failed to respond to his call to action over the past few weeks to put a halt to construction deaths.

Some 36 construction workers have died in workplace accidents this year. Two visitors have also died at construction sites.

>> Construction workers in coffins | Editorial

Two weeks ago, Nissenkorn declared that if the government and Knesset don’t take meaningful steps to stop the phenomenon, the Histadrut would launch a general strike. That day, two construction workers died on the job.

The Histadrut enumerated several demands, including the adoption of European standards for construction and strengthening enforcement of security measures, including mandatory harnesses.

The Histadrut also demanded that all government construction and infrastructure tenders include security requirements. MKs Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya, Eli Alalouf and Eyal Ben-Reuven did indeed submit such a bill to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, but the committee put off discussing it until four months from now.

The bill would require companies participating in construction tenders for the government, municipalities, government companies, and other government entities to meet safety standards. The goal would be making safety standards uniform.

MK Hajj Yahya said the proposal was rejected on the grounds that it would raise construction costs, as well as housing costs for projects with government involvement. He called this claim “ridiculous.”

“This proves above all the government’s approach to everything that has to do with labor accidents in the construction sector,” he said. The actual cost for large construction projects is nearly nothing, he said.

Meanwhile, the Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene has launched an information campaign, putting billboards in Arabic in areas where a large number of residents work in construction. The campaign seeks to raise awareness of safety rules and warn that violating them could cause deaths.



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this month.

Lapid to Haaretz: ‘I Have Learned to Respect the Left’

“Dubi,” whose full name is secret in keeping with instructions from the Mossad.

The Mossad’s Fateful 48 Hours Before the Yom Kippur War

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer