Wage Crisis at Local Authorities Resumes

The head of the Histadrut labor federation, Ofer Eini, demanded yesterday that the director general of the Prime Minister's Office, Ra'anan Dinur, fire heads of local authorities who did not pay workers' wages for March and April.

The crisis had seemingly ended when the Histadrut halted its strike in March. But the labor federation says 30 municipalities and local authorities did not pay April salaries, and 12 of them failed to pay wages for the past two months. Among the authorities that didn't pay wages are 10 listed as problematic because of their especially heavy debts, in which workers received loans from the Histadrut at the end of March.

In addition there are 11 religious councils that have withheld salaries, according to the Histadrut. "In the wake of the last strike we obtained from the government a commitment to fire automatically any local authority head where 25 percent or more of the workers suffer from withheld wages," said Eini. "Now it's incumbent upon the government, through the Interior Ministry, to redeem the guarantee and begin firing those authority heads."

About 100 municipal workers from Taibeh and the Nahaf local council demonstrated yesterday in Jerusalem over not receiving their April and May salaries.

Adi Eldar, chairman of the Israel Local Authorities Union, said: "We warned during the last strike that the proposed solution is like treating a serious illness with an Acamol pill, and that the next strike would not be far behind."