A hundred and seventy security guards who protect government ministers and MKs were prevented by a court decision Sunday night from striking on Monday.
The security guards were planning to protest low wages and poor work conditions by launching a strike, leaving 22 government ministers — not including the prime minister, president, foreign minister and defense minister — without protection.
The Mikud Security company, which is contracted by the government, pays the bodyguards a base salary of NIS 22 an hour ($5.92).
Tel Aviv Labor Court judge Sarah Meiri issued an injunction supporting the government position, stating that the proposed strike could harm the ministers and the public.
The guards’ attorney, Betty Matzar-Levy, said that security guards work up to 70 consecutive hours in one shift and 12 shifts a month, Yedioth Aharonoth reported. Furthermore, they only receive overtime pay on holidays, not on Saturday.
A guard told Walla News: “It is impossible, unreasonable and unacceptable for security guards to work 25 hours straight and earn minimum wage. We are ready to sacrifice our lives for the security of Israel and for the personal security of the government ministers… but there is a price.”
The guards were supposed to sign an agreement on Monday with Mikud, but talks failed when the company balked at the proposed deal, claiming a need for further talks with the Finance Ministry.
Last August, a group of 81 ministerial security guards filed a NIS 14.2 million lawsuit against the State of Israel and the company that employs them, claiming they were not paid for overtime, holidays, vacation and sick days. That case is still awaiting judgment.