The Histadrut labor federation approved on Tuesday the declaration of a labor dispute with the government after negotiations on collective long-term-care insurance reached a deadlock.
If the deadlock is not broken by the time a 14-day cooling-off period expires, the Histadrut will be legally permitted to go on strike. Such a strike — expected to target Ben Gurion Airport, Israel Railways, the ports and government ministries — threatens, in effect, to shut down the country.
Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkorn made the stunning disclosure that a Ministry of Finance negotiator had proposed that people aged 60–65 who lacked insurance coverage for long-term care could purchase policies for a one-time 40,000 shekel payment, a prohibitive amount for ordinary wage-earners.
“The Ministry of Finance’s attitude is that private citizens bear sole responsibility for their long-term care,” he said.
Ministry sources confirmed to Globes that such an option had been raised, but they said it was a somewhat distorted interpretation of one element in a broader plan proposed by Deputy Minister of Finance Yitzhak Cohen.
The Histadrut is fighting against a reform that the ministry has sought to impose on it which would allow only private collective long-term care insurance policies to be marketed, not collective policies, which offer cheaper terms.