Security Directors in Hundreds of Towns Set to Strike

YERUSHALAYIM -
A security guard sits at the entrance to a park in the northern Israeli town of Afula, July 13. (Reuters/Rami Ayyub)

The Histadrut Hale’umit labor union has declared a work dispute that could see security directors at hundreds of Jewish towns in Yehudah, Shomron, and border communities go on strike in two weeks. The union is demanding that the workers be recognized as official employees or contractors of the Defense Ministry.

That status would result in an improvement of the salaries and work conditions of the security directors The union has been working on the matter for months, and at a meeting last week the union and Defense Ministry officials reached a settlement. However, an official contract based on the understandings reached has yet to appear, and the union said that it would not accept the Ministry’s foot-dragging in the matter.

Under Israeli labor laws, the declaration of a work dispute must precede a strike by two weeks, so if the issue is not resolved, the security officials at 420 towns in Yehudah and Shomron, and in border communities in northern and southern Israel could walk off the job.

Union official Itamar Sharoni said that “the security directors are a human shield for many towns on the front line. It hurts us to see them ignored over and over. Unfortunately, it appears that the Defense Ministry cannot be relied upon, and does not stand behind its commitments.”