Fighting Firings With a Four-day Workweek

To stave off dismissals, the Manufacturers' Association of Israel is proposing the introduction of a four-day workweek for industrial workers, with the National Insurance Institute paying for the fifth day to spare workers lost wages.

The plan, the brainchild of the chairman of the Metal and Electrical Industries Association, Eli Yaffe, has the support of Manufacturers' Association head Shraga Brosh. It will complement an earlier proposal that would let employers to send their workers home on unpaid leave for three months, with the government footing the bill for unemployment benefits. That plan already has the agreement of the cabinet, the industrialists and the unions.

Manufacturers' Association officials say the proposals could save 45,000 jobs - 70% of the 65,000 job losses in manufacturing that Brosh has forecasted.