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Strike Halts Public Services Across Israel

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Chairman of Histadrut Labor Federation,Ofir Eini stands with protesters as they hold banners and chant slogans during a demonstration against the current employment status of contract workers, at the entrance to the National Labor Court in Jerusalem, on Jan 09, 2012, prior to a hearing on the request by the Histadrut Labor Federation to hold a general strike on the issue of contract labor. No agreement has been reached between the union and the treasury, the Center for Local Government and employers.

Photo Credit: Photo by Kobi Gideon / Flash90

A general strike of municipal workers shut down numerous public services on Monday, plunging schools and public transportation systems into chaos that hit the public particularly hard.

Parents across the country scrambled to find solutions for their children’s care, while the lack of buses and trains threw workers’ and soldiers’ schedules into disarray. Also affected by the strike are a range of public services, including garbage collection, social welfare services and parking inspectors.

The Union of Local Authorities launched the strike after late-night talks with the Prime Minister’s Office broke down. The ULA is demanding that the government relieve dozens of municipalities of their financial burdens. In recent years, the government has demanded that local authorities reform their finances, going so far as to remove several mayors from office over financial mismanagement.

“It is important that we continue behaving with economic responsibility and not scatter money mindlessly,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in response to the ULA’s demands. “If the economy crashes,” Netanyahu said, “the citizens will pay the price.”

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