Midgal Raises Minimum Wage for Employees, While government-Histadrut Talks Break Down

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Avi Nissenkorn at the Histadrut meeting declaring a labor dispute, November 18, 2014.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

While the treasury and Histadrut labor federation wrangle over an increase in the minimum wage, Migdal Insurance and Financial Holdings announced on Wednesday that it would be increasing minimum salaries at the company by 1,000 shekels per month to 5,300 shekels ($1,370) gross. It is expected that several hundred of the company’s lowest-paid employees will benefit from the move, which is reportedly to go into effect on January 1.

The monthly minimum wage in Israel is currently 4,300 shekels ($1,110). The Histadrut labor federation is demanding that it be raised to 5,300 — the new minimum at Migdal Insurance. On Tuesday, negotiations between the labor federation and Finance Ministry representatives broke off without a resolution.

“The government’s professional staff and the [private] employer [representatives] came to the meeting [Tuesday] evening seeking to scuttle the process and without any proposals regarding the increase in the minimum wage,” the Histadrut said in a statement Tuesday evening. The matter, the labor federation said, will therefore have to be dealt with directly by Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkorn; Zvi Oren, the head of the Federation of Israeli Economic Organizations, which represents private employers; and Finance Minister Yair Lapid.

For its part, the Finance Ministry said that in the course of Tuesday’s negotiations, it became clear that the Histadrut was looking after the interests of the strong and not the weak in the labor force. Ministry sources said the Finance Ministry was prepared to raise the minimum wage, but they say the Histadrut is insisting on including benefits for employees who already receive thousands of shekels a month more than the minimum.

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