Bank of Israel Workers Threaten Strike Next Week Over Salary Deal

The Histadrut Labor Federation has decided to give the Bank of Israel's workers the green light to strike or take sanctions starting as of next Wednesday - if by then no new collective bargaining agreement is signed for the 800 central bank employees. Four months ago the Histadrut officially declared a work dispute at the bank, but has only now decided to take drastic steps. The official explanation for the dispute is a lack of progress in negotiations between the bank's management and the employees' union on the new agreement, as well as "harm to the workers' conditions." In addition, the union objects to the implementation of a reorganization plan proposed by an outside consulting firm without the workers' agreement. The unofficial reason for the threatened strike is the workers' fear that the treasury's wages director is planning on cutting their salaries and other benefits unilaterally, in light of various excesses discovered at the bank. The bank's management responded that it hopes to wrap up negotiations on a salary agreement in the next few days, "if the union and the wages director exhibit a willingness to do so."