Huge win for public sector contract workers in Israel

According to a report in today’s Jerusalem Post, the victory achieved by the Histadrut’s general strike back in February has been translated into positive results on the ground for contract workers employed in the public sector.

They will see big increases in their wages and improvements in their working conditions following a deal signed yesterday by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini.

The Post writes: “Minimum wage for contract workers will increase to NIS 4,500 immediately, with retrospective pay from May 2012. It will then rise to NIS 4,600 in January 2013 and to NIS 4,650 in July 2013, in parallel with the existing collective workplace agreement for permanent public-sector employees.”

It doesn’t stop there. Those workers will also receive “other benefits enjoyed by regular employees, including vouchers for Pessah and Rosh Hashana, more convalescence pay, a 1 percent increase in pension payments and subsidized meals at their place of work.”

And the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry will add 120 staff to its workplace enforcement division.

Histadrut leader Eini called the agreement “ground-breaking,” saying it brings the conditions of contract workers into line with those of permanent public-sector employees. He said that this is just “the beginning of the road” that restores some dignity to workers, adding that there is still some way to go.