ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

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Public sector wage deal signed, giving workers 11% raise over 4 years, 40-hour week

Agreement announced by Finance Minister Smotrch and Histadrut chief Arnon Bar-David is first salary adjustment since 2015

Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich and and Arnon Ben-David, chairman of the Histadrut labor union hold a joint press conference in Tel Aviv on March 2, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich and and Arnon Ben-David, chairman of the Histadrut labor union hold a joint press conference in Tel Aviv on March 2, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The Finance Ministry and the Histadrut labor federation on Thursday announced a new public sector wage agreement that will see government workers get an 11 percent raise over the next four years.

The amount is less than the 15% the union was seeking for workers who have not had a salary increase in five years amid mounting inflation. However, the sides also agreed to shorten the workweek from 42 to 40 hours. Plus, each worker will get a NIS 6,000 ($1,650) grant with their April salary.

The 11% raise will be implemented gradually, with the first bump of NIS 400 coming in June.

In return, the union will guarantee industrial quiet until 2027 and state employers will be granted the ability to “improve service to the citizen through the introduction of technology and worker mobility,” an apparent move to water down worker protection laws.

The details would be worked out at a later date, the statement said.

A separate deal was also reached to improve the salaries of teaching assistants in local councils, who are not part of the teachers union.

The basic salary of a new assistant will rise from NIS 6,200 to NIS 7,200 ($2,000) per month. They will also get a seniority bonus of NIS 50 per month for each year of experience.

The agreement appeared to have been reached amicably, without the threats of a nationwide strike that accompanied the last wage deal, which was reached in 2015.

Announcing the deal, Histadrut chairman Arnon Bar-David said it was a historic accomplishment.

“It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this historic and festive day for hundreds of thousands of public sector workers. After difficult years of a global epidemic, economic upheaval and a higher cost of living, in which the public sector gave its support for the recovery of the economy — now comes the good news and the appropriate reward for dedicated work for the benefit of the citizens of Israel,” he said.

Yogev Gardus, head of the Budget Department in the Finance Ministry, called the agreement “responsible and correct, both for the workers and for the economy.”

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