Histadrut Calls Labor Dispute That May Spark City Workers' Strike

Says increasing number of outsourced workers, NGO provide city services, hurt municipal employees.

The Histadrut labor federation declared a labor dispute on Thursday because of what it said are an increasing number of outsourced workers and nonprofit organizations providing services for municipal governments.

For its part, the Union of Local Authorities says it is studying the situation but "it is not clear why the Histadrut chose this time to actually declare a labor dispute."

The declaration of the dispute theoretically paves the way for a strike by city workers, including municipal employees in the country's three largest cities - Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa - after a 14-day cooling-off period. The Histadrut says the increased use of outsourced workers risks the erosion of the employment terms and job security of municipal employees.

In other labor developments, on Thursday repair staff at Hot, the cable television and communications company, struck for five hours over management's refusal to recognize a provisional workers' committee set up through the Koach La Ovdim labor organization. This is the third time that Hot employees have staged a walkout, but the first time nationwide.

A Hot spokeswoman said the workers' committee had not fulfilled the requirements to represent company staff because the unionization effort had not signed up a third of the workers as the law requires. As a result, the strike last week was illegal and could subject the workers who joined to legal action, the spokeswoman said.

Emil Salman