Negotiations between the union umbrella organization histradut and the ministry of finance ended early this morning without a result. The unions are demanding more money and rights for contract workers in the public sector, who on average earn less than their permanent colleagues and have fewer rights.
The government was still trying to avert the strike by providing an additional 200 million shekels (40 million euros). But the dispute has been smoldering for months. Prime minister benjamin netanyahu had appealed to the trade unions the night before to avoid a labor dispute at all costs in the "difficult situation" of the israeli economy. A strike would not solve problems that had been building for decades.
The walkout could cost the country the equivalent of about 80 million euros a week, according to calculations by the association of chambers of commerce. A request by the association to declare the strike illegal was rejected by the supreme court the day before.
Histradut chief ofer eini and finance minister juval steinitz were scheduled to meet this afternoon for further negotiations.