Histadrut Cancels General Strike Over Wages Planned for Monday

Federation leaders postpone strike one day to give government chance to transfer necessary funds to pay workers.

The Histadrut Labor Federation will not strike or disrupt the economy on Monday as planned, according to an administrative decision reached Sunday.

Instead, the strike will be postponed an additional day to give the government a chance to convene and transfer withheld wages to the thousand local workers whose salaries have gone unpaid for months.

The Histadrut has asked the government to release funds to 16 local council and 16 religious councils who have not had the economic means to pay their employees.

The federation's leaders met Sunday to decide when to launch the strike, which was to paralyze the country's air, sea and train traffic, shut ministries, municipalities and local authorities and disrupt the work of government corporations like the Post Office and Military Industries.

Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini sent a letter Sunday evening to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in which he demanded the cabinet convene an emergency session to ensure the immediate payment of wages to local council employees.

"The governmental and clerical echelons which have dealt with this matter have completely failed," Eini wrote. "In spite of the promises given to me by the finance and interior ministers, nothing was done to solve this severe problem. I call on them now to discover their national leadership and act to bring about the immediate eradication of this unacceptable and unethical phenomenon of not paying wages on time."

Histadrut leaders said Saturday that a general strike was inevitable, due to the failure of the government and the local authorities to pay wages to tens of thousands of workers.