Histadrut backs minimum wage hike

The leader of Israel’s national trade union center — the Histadrut — has expressed support for the proposal to raise the country’s minimum wage.  That proposal was made in a private member’s bill submitted by former Histadrut leader Amir Peretz.

According to a report in Ha’aretz,  “Ofer Eini expressed qualified support for increasing the minimum wage. . . Eini said he supported a minimum wage increase if the three major players involved, the government, the Histadrut and private employers, could come to an agreement on the matter, as they did a year ago, when an agreement on a legislative package strengthened workers’ rights.  Histadrut sources also say that in recent months collective agreements have been reached in several sectors that increased the lowest permissible wages for cleaning staff, security guards and retail chain workers, among others.”

Opponents of the measure, including the Likud’s finance minister, say that Israel has already been criticized by the OECD for having too high a minimum wage.

Meanwhile in neighboring Egypt, workers have taken to the streets to demand that a minimum wage be enacted.  (For full coverage of the Egyptian struggles, click here.)