General Strike in Israel to Continue After Last-ditch Negotiations Fail

Talks geared at reaching agreement between Histadrut and Finance Ministry fail; negotiations will be renewed on Sunday morning.

A general strike in Israel's public sector will continue on Friday, after negotiations between the Histradrut Labor Federation and the Finance failed to resolve the gap between the two sides late Thursday.

Despite the failure to reach an agreement, the two sides made significant strides forward on Thursday in talks.

Eini Steinitz -  Emil Salman - 08022012
Emil Salman

According to a compromise reached on Thursday, a few thousand out of 300,000 contract workers indirectly employed by the government will become full state employees, which will significantly improve their salaries and social benefits.

In parallel, the number of inspectors that are meant to oversee the conditions of employment of the contract workers will increase by one hundred.

The strike, called by the Histradrut, paralyzed Israel's public sector on Wednesday and Thursday, with transportation, banks and various government offices not available.

The Histradrut is demanding that the state hire subcontracted workers directly, especially cleaning workers.

The Finance Ministry, however, rejected its demands, saying it was willing to raise the subcontracted workers' wages by 20-25 percent and make sure their rights are maintained.