Histadrut Planning Mega-Strike Over Insurance Coverage

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (R) seen with Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkorn during a press conference on December 9, 2015. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90
Israel Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon (R) seen with Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkorn. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Within two days, Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkorn will meet with the heads of the country’s largest and most powerful workers committees, and together they will vote to declare a work dispute that will encompass nearly all public and many private sector workers. If the union’s demands are not met within two weeks of the work dispute declaration, the union could call for a massive strike that will encompass about a third of the workers in Israel, including the education system, Channel Two reported.

While there are numerous issues outstanding between workers in various sectors and the government, the main issue is that of the provision of nursing home insurance for workers. Tens of thousands of Israelis bought nursing home insurance – which is supposed to pay their expenses in the event that they need assisted care – but the Finance Ministry canceled the program last year as being too expensive. The two sides have been negotiating since then to arrive at a solution, but so far none has emerged. Nissenkorn said that workers have given the Treasury enough time to come up with ideas, and that now is the time for action.

According to the report, Nissenkorn is likely to demand that not only those who bought the policies be compensated and taken care of, but that the government provide nursing home insurance to all Israelis. The Knesset has discussed this matter, and Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman backs a form of such insurance, but the plan Nissenkorn forsees will be more encompassing – and expensive – than other proposals, the report said.

Meanwhile, El Al workers inched their way to a strike of their own, with strike talk taking on renewed vigor Sunday night. The airline canceled its late night flight to Newark, saying that pilots were undertaking labor actions to interfere with the flight – a charge the workers denied. The airline was unable to offload the flight onto another carrier, and announced that it was canceling the flight and refunding passengers their money.

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