|Communist Party of Israel: A justified general strike with poor achievements|
|Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:13|
Israeli union federation announced on Sunday they were ending a general strike on its fifth day, after reaching an agreement with treasury officials that will boost salaries and benefits for contract workers. The general strike began Wednesday 6 a.m., shutting down basic services including government offices, banks, trains, higher education institutions, and – briefly at the beginning – Ben-Gurion International Airport. According to the Bank of Israel, the strike caused "serious damage to the Israeli economy at a time when it was already facing difficulties."
At a joint news conference, the head of the Histadrut trade union confederation and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz announced they had signed an accord "to improve" the conditions of contract workers employed in the public sector. A deal on the rights of contract workers was reached with private employers earlier in the week, but the government -- said to employ the bulk of the contract workers -- had been reluctant to sign a similar deal.
Young Communist League demonstration in Tel-Aviv for contract workers rights (Photo: Al Ittihad)
A Histadrut statement said that the new accords would see "thousands" of contract workers taken on as full staff members by both public and private sector employers. But according to the agreement, of the hundreds of thousands of subcontracted workers in Israel, only about 800 are likely to be directly hired, mostly in the health-care system. And the Histadrut and affiliated unions committed themselves not to call another general strike for a period of three years. Before the deal was reached, rubbish had been piling up on streets and drivers of the national bus corporation had joined the strike, disrupting travel on the first day of the Israeli working week. The issue of contract workers has been simmering for months, with the Histadrut staging a four-hour strike in the same dispute in November.
A Communist Party of Israel (CPI) Political Bureau statement said that it was a justified general strike with poor achievements. "The agreement was a very small step in the larger battle against neo-liberal policies and manpower companies, which he claimed take advantage of their workers." CPI called to increase the enforcement of labor laws and added that government offices should only practice direct employment, as opposed to hiring contract workers. The responsibility for stopping this cruel exploitation and ugly phenomenon rests on the government’s shoulders." A leading CPI member added: "Until defeat of capitalist system, contract work, one of the most serious social problems in Israeli, will not end."
|Last Updated on Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:31|