labor dispute: workers employed through subcontractors

The Histadrut labor federation could launch a broad general strike, after declaring a labor dispute over subcontracted workers at the beginning of the month. Some say it is an attempt by the Histadrut to play a role in the current wave of social protests.

Following the declaration of a labor dispute, a union in Israel must wait two weeks in order to strike.

The union’s protest has helped put the issue of workers employed through subcontractors on the public agenda.

Israel is believed to have the highest rate of subcontracted workers in the OECD – a full 5% to 10% of all workers are subcontracted, as opposed to the 1.5% OECD average.

The state employs 12,000 subcontracted employees, who make up 20% of its entire workforce.

As a group, subcontracted employees are the worst-earning sector of wage earners. Furthermore, labor law enforcement is weak when it comes to subcontractors, and thanks to accounting tricks, many workers actually earn less than minimum wage. Many also do not receive their social benefits as required by law.