Eini compares contract workers to slave market

Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini has declared a general labor dispute demanding the direct employment of contract workers.

Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini today declared his promised general labor dispute over the issue of contract workers. In his declaration, Eini compared the use of contract workers with a slave market.

"Something happened in the summer of 2011," said Eini. "The whole citizenry came out onto the street to demand social justice. In my view, there can be no social justice without dealing with the issue of contract workers. For decades, Israel has created dozens, even hundreds of kinds of jobs, but their common denominator is indirect employment. We've created a slave market, exploiting contract workers."

This is the first time that the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) is declaring a labor dispute over the use of contract employees but it is merely an excuse by Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini to lay the groundwork for a general strike to protest the Trajtenberg committee recommendations. The Histadrut is demanding that contract workers be employed directly, and to reduce the number of contract workers to the absolute minimum necessary.

Eini continued, "It is sometimes necessary for someone to push the cart in order to achieve social justice. It is necessary to deal with the issue of contract workers who must cease being unseen people. This is not just about money; these workers must also feel that they belong.

"If we succeed in this endeavor, we'll deliver a critical act in Israel. We'll mark out these workers so that they will be seen; they will suddenly become a part of us. Let there be no mistake, this is no easy task. It is a complicated issue that has successfully confused everyone. It occurs at almost every workplace."

In drumming up support, Eini said, "We have children, grandchildren, or relatives who are contract workers. Our goal is for them to be able to lift their heads, to say, 'We are part of the People of Israel'."

Social protest leader Dafni Leef supports Eini's declaration. In a statement, she said, "The hundreds of thousands of unorganized contract workers deserve basic rights and dignity. The Israeli government, a serial ignorer of the public's demands for social justice, is the largest employer of contract workers in the economy. Social justice begins with basic rights owed to every employee - especially government employees who serve all of us, and who are paid with our taxes. This is where the change in Israel's job conditions should begin."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 11, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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