Driving examiners will be taking the week off this week as well, extending their strike into its eighth week, after a Yerushalayim labor court late Thursday postponed a hearing on an injunction against the strike. After seven weeks of no road tests, resulting in a huge backlog of license approvals that cannot be completed without the tests, the Transport Ministry last week finally asked the court to demand that testers go back to work while conditions for the outsourcing of the testing procedures was discussed with the union representing examiners. The hearing was rescheduled for Sunday afternoon.
The strike began on March 20, as examiners demanded that the government halt its plan to outsource the tests to private driving school teachers. As a result, some 40,000 road tests have been canceled, resulting in extensive delays for students who are getting their first license, and creating a shortage of drivers of commercial vehicles, as new drivers cannot get their licenses to replace drivers who are retiring at bus and trucking companies.
In its petition, the Transport Ministry said that the examiners were “holding the entire country hostage, including young people and soldiers, only in order to maintain their monopoly. They started a wildcat strike to force the Ministry to back off reforms which will significantly improve service for the public, and significantly reduce the amount of time that prospective drivers must wait.”
Meanwhile, each day of the strike means longer waiting periods for those seeking to get licenses now. According to the Ministry, it will take many months for the examiners to clear the backlog; if before the strike, appointments for road tests needed to be made two months in advance, the wait could now be as much as eight months.