The Histadrut Labor Union started the secular calendar year with a warning to the Jerusalem municipality that it will file a grievance over the layoff of 170 sanitation workers.
That move is the first step towards starting a job action that could eventually paralyze the entire capital, if the union continues to proceed with each step in the typical work slowdown process.
“We are talking about cutting off the food supply of workers who are in the weakest position, a complete breach of trust when dealing with a group of workers,” said the Histadrut in a statement.
The move followed the city’s fight to save the jobs of more than 1,000 other sanitation workers, and up to 9,000 others in the city.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said last week there was no choice, given the refusal of the Finance Ministry to transfer funds to the city budget to support ongoing services. Calling the cuts “unbearable,” Barkat warned that if the government did not find a way to help, the city’s budgets for “social services, education and culture” would also be affected.
Last Thursday the Finance Minister agreed to allow the Jerusalem City Council to keep all the workers except 170 on the municipal payroll, and even to hire others.
But the grievance to be filed by the Histadrut will allow city workers who are union members to take unified action. Under the terms of a grievance, workers can participate in anything from a work slowdown to a full-scale strike after a period of two weeks.Hana Levi Julian