Bank Employees Throughout the Country Intend to Go on Strike Sunday

Banks will be closed to the public, and internet banking will not operate. ATMs are expected to run out of cash by Sunday afternoon.

The roughly 40,000 employees of the nation's banks intend to go on strike starting Sunday.

As a result, banks throughout the country will be closed to the public, and internet banking will not operate. ATMs will not be refilled with cash, and are expected to be depleted of funds by Sunday afternoon.

Bank of Israel and Tel Aviv Stock Exchange employees will join in the strike, shutting down trading at the exchange.

The employees are opposed to the Finance Ministry's intention to ask the Knesset to approve in a first reading the Bachar Commission for banking reform's final recommendations.

"We are opposed to the commission's recommendations, according to which the banks' provident funds and mutual funds will be transferred to insurance and brokerage companies," said the chair of The International Bank's employee committee, Hanokh Livneh, on Thursday.

According to Livneh, the process will weaken the banks and lead to the layoff of up to 10 percent of bank employees.

Likud MK and coalition whip on the Knesset Finance Committee Daniel Benlolo met Thursday with the chairmen of the banks' employee committees in a failed effort to prevent a strike. Histadrut labor federation representatives Leon Morozovsky and Tzion Shema also participated in the meeting.

The employee committee chairmen expressed a willingness to postpone the strike, on the condition the Treasury freezes the legislative process of approving the Bachar Comission recommendations.

The Treasury responded by saying it would not consider freezing the process.

Benlolo is expected to continue his mediation efforts Friday.