“We must improve the management of human resources, minimize the occurrence of strikes and sanctions, and connect the realm of salary to the quality and excellence of manpower, and not put it on autopilot,” said Director of Wages Kobi Amsalem at a press conference marking the release of the Ministry of Finance Wages Department’s annual report, which covers more than 546,000 workers whose total salaries amount to NIS 160 billion (not including the military).
On strikes in essential services Amsalem said: “Essential services cannot behave like other organizations in the public sector. Essential services must have a decision mechanism that does not disrupt the work of those organizations, and, of course, does not negatively impact the government’s work,” hinting that he will strive to establish mandatory or consensual arbitration for essential services, in consultation with the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel).
“It is important give authority to the managers, and to synchronize wages with performance,” added Amsalem. “There is a distortion that is called ‘supplementing minimum wage.’ Meaning, a third of government workers receive this supplement, but their average salary is more than NIS 11,000, which is almost 3 times the minimum wage. All the add-ons are not included in the minimum wage calculation. This is a distortion that must be fixed.”
According to Amsalem, salaries in the public sector have tracked the private sector, “which is a sign that they are reasonable, and are not out of control.” Amsalem demonstrated that between 2009-2012, nominal wages rose 10% in the private sector, similar to the Consumer Price Index for those years, as opposed to 18% in the government, and 13% in government companies.
Amsalem also addressed gender gaps and said: “Two thirds of workers in civil services are women. Yet, the gap in average wages between women and men is 23%; roughly NIS 17,000 for men, versus about NIS 13,000 for women. Gaps exist, but they are narrowing.”
Government workers are workers in government offices, teachers, workers in the defense establishment, and government hospital employees; public sector workers (public services) include municipal employees, religious councils, municipal companies, ancillary bodies, government companies and corporations.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 23, 2013
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