Ernst and Young (EY) Israel has signed the first-ever collective labor agreement at an Israeli accounting firm. Inking the agreement were Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) chairman Avi Nissenkorn, EY Israel chairman Ronen Barel, and EY Israel workers' committee chairman Ohad Cohen.
The agreement, which is valid until 2022, includes clauses of significance for the improvement of employment terms, including an advanced training fund, partial payment for employees' meals, bonuses, more vacation time, and clauses for increasing employment security.
The wave of labor organizing at accounting firms was first reported by "Globes" two years ago, when employees at the big five of Israeli accounting began to establish workers' committees. EY employees were the pioneers, raising serious complaints against the firm's management concerning low pay and employment conditions. In the first stage of organization at the firm in May, an anonymous email was sent to most of the firm's workers calling on them to express support for the establishment of a workers' committee.
The process of forming the committee continued for several months, and in late 2015, the employees began open activity, in which dozens of employees, activists on the action committee, and representatives of the worker organization section of the Histadrut put up stands at the company's headquarters in Tel Aviv, distributed pamphlets, and held meetings. At the same time, a website was set up, and a Facebook group was formed to accompany the organization.
Less than 24 hours after the open stage of the workers' organization began, the firm's employees completed the process of forming the first representative committee at an accounting firm under Histadrut auspices, after more than a third of the workers signed membership forms for the organization, as required by law. Shortly afterwards, EY Israel became the first Israeli accounting firm to recognize a workers' union under Histadrut auspices.
Since then, the parties have been negotiating a collective labor agreement. A year of negotiations produced an agreement.
EY Israel is part of the Ernst and Young Global accounting firm, believed to be one of the world's four leading firms. It operates in 150 countries, and has over 200,000 employees worldwide.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on July 2, 2017
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