Lynn: 100,000 Private Sector Workers Won't Get Salaries

More than 100,000 private sector workers in Haifa and the north will not receive their salaries, and tens of thousands of others will only receive part of it, according to Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce President Uriel Lynn.

According to Lynn, the private sector in Haifa and the north, not including large industrial plants, employs some 150,000-200,000 workers. "The arrangement reached on Thursday between Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson, president of the Manufacturers Association Shraga Brosh and Histadrut labor federation chair Ofer Eini for the payment of July salaries on August 1 is to a large degree impractical," he said. "The arrangement is suitable for large industrial companies and public institutions, but does not provide a solution for the trade and services sectors, including businesses, shops, restaurants and all kinds of service providers."

Lynn said the agreement states that plants in Haifa and the north would receive compensation based on the number of employees they have who did not come to work. "This criterion is suitable for industry, which is rich in workers, but not for a small business, like a shop, where all of the employers came to work, but the business is facing a cash squeeze because customers stayed away and revenues have dropped sharply."

Lynn wrote over the weekend to the head of the Finance Ministry's budget division, Kobi Haber, asking him to allow businesses in the north to receive compensation based on three alternative criteria. The first would be that agreed upon on Thursday. The second is compensation based on a calculation a loss in added value of a business as reflected in its tax returns. This would be based on an average of the last three months before the war. The third criterion would be based on the loss of the business's gross profits, as was done in 2000. The payments would be made at the time stated by the agreement signed on Thursday.

Lynn said he sent his proposal to Haber because members of the federation of chambers of commerce, including retailers and importers, were not represented in the discussions held on compensation last week.