Income Tax Officials Threaten Strike; Treasury: They're Paid Well

And there you were, raring to pay your dues to the state. Today and on Sunday, expect disruptions at the income tax divisions as 3,200 tax officials take up figurative swords against the Finance Ministry.

The sanctions can be expected to morph into a full-blown strike on Monday. From that time, all the tax offices will be shuttered until further notice.

The workers' gripe is that the Finance Ministry hasn't signed a new collective employment agreement with the income tax workers for five years, explained labor representative, Telhum Friedlov, yesterday.

Another beef is that the ministry refuses to add new positions, in order to relieve the burden borne by the overloaded workers since the negative income tax reform came into force, Friedlov says.

The workers' sanctions have the full support of the Histadrut umbrella union.

The Finance Ministry seems unimpressed. "The average wage of the tax workers is 25% above the average wage of all other public servants: NIS 12,000 a month in gross terms, compared with NIS 9,000 a month in other government offices," it commented. "Furthermore, the wage of the tax workers was raised by 20% since 2000, compared with 10% for the other civil servants."

As for the other complaint, the 2009 budget proposal (which hasn't passed Knesset yet) has funding for 200 more positions, the ministry added.