Jobless to Receive Benefits Before Pesach, Despite Strike by Employment Service

Unemployed people entitled to benefits will receive them before Passover, despite the strike in the Employment Service. Histadrut labor federation secretary general Amir Peretz yesterday sent instructions to this effect to the workers committee of the service.

Today, the last day of the month, is when the service has to transfer to the National Insurance Institute data about those people entitled to unemployment benefits in order for them to be paid before the Passover holiday, which falls in the last week of April.

Meanwhile, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Ehud Olmert instructed the head of the service, Esther Dominicini, to ask the Labor Court to order the workers committee and the Histadrut to stop the strike, which began Tuesday. Olmert also called on Peretz to intervene personally.

The workers committee announced yesterday that the 80 employment bureaus throughout the country would remain shut "indefinitely," and the unemployed would not be placed.

The workers are afraid of dismissals in the wake of the decision to implement the Wisconsin Plan - aimed at bringing the chronically unemployed back to work - which, they say, is part of a plan to privatize the employment service to the detriment of the existing employees.

They also say that 100 Employment Service workers have retired in the past year but that their places have not been filled.