The Knesset Finance Committee has authorized a salary raise for bus drivers, staving off a threatened work action. The Committee allocated NIS 320 million for public transportation, NIS 250 million of which will go to salaries, which the government subsidizes. The rest of the money will go to hiring and training bus drivers, of whom, Transportation Minister Betzalel Smotrich said, there is a major shortage.
“The Finance Minister will soon sign over the money that has been allocated, but this is all a subsidy for public transportation. The challenge of the Transportation Ministry is to serve Israeli citizens. There is a shortage of some 3,000 bus drivers in the public transportation area. We lack resources, we lack drivers. We need to make these jobs attractive, so we are encouraging the bus companies to ensure that bus drivers earn more money.”
Finance Committee Chairman MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni lauded Committee members for their quick action on transferring the money. “Some people tried to complain that I was holding up the allocation, that it was not being moved forward. I received this request five days ago, and I asked that the Committee consider it immediately. I am happy that this crisis has been resolved,” he said.