In Bid to Avoid Labor Dispute PM to Meet With Labor Federation Heads

Chairman of Israel's Histadrut labor federation Ofer Eini said earlier they would announce a labor dispute on Thursday to fight price increase of Gas, bread and water.

In a bid to reach a compromise to avoid a labor dispute, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he will meet with the heads of the Histadrut labor federation to discuss a possible compromise over price increases of gasoline, water and bread.

Chairman of Israel's Histadrut labor federation Ofer Eini, Israel Manufacturer Association president Shraga Brosh and chairman of the Union of Local Authorities Shlomo Buhbut announced earlier that that they would declare a labor dispute within two days to fight the price increase of basic products and to raise the minimum wage.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - Salman
Emil Salman

The meeting, which will include Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, will attempt to avoid the announcement of a labor dispute which could lead to a two-week general strike, as the heads of the Histadrut previously warned.

"We do not want to wait, when the price increase of one product seems to lead to the price increase in others," the Histadrut said.

Gasoline prices reached a new high on February 1 of NIS 7.26 per liter for octane 95 - 12 agorot more per liter than in January. Prices of subsidized bread and water have also increased.

On Sunday Eini threatened to declare a labor dispute over the rising prices saying that local authorities and some private sectors could cease operations for a full two weeks.

"For the first time, the Histadrut, the coordinating bureau, and the central councils of the local government to have agreed to begin a social struggle to end this absurd situation where on the one hand laborers are receiving a low salary, and on the other prices are going wild," said Eini.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to rethink the rise in prices, but stopped short of actually pledging to lower prices somehow.