Retirement Age Hike Undone

The Finance Minister restored retirement age to 65 for men and 60 for women for thousands of workers in the private sector who will be taking early retirement. This decision was part of an agreement signed over the weekend between Histadrut professional union department legal head Dorit Tene-Perchik and Finance Ministry director general Joseph Bachar.

The road to the agreement, considered a victory for the Histadrut, began in 1999, when Telrad laid off a group of employees who had begun working there in the 1970's. Telrad was to pay the 52-year-old workers an increased pension for 10 years but would not pay them for the following three years until they reached the age of 65, the official retirement age at the time. Thereafter, they would receive their regular pensions.

However, former Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2003 raised the retirement age to 67 for men and 64 for women, leaving the 500 ex-workers out in the cold for another two to four years.

One former worker, Moshe Heled, and five colleagues launched a public crusade with the support of the Histadrut. The new deal reached over the weekend pertains to all workers, not only those at Telrad, who took early retirement.