Israel: Strike Days Doubled in 2014, Report Finds

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By Jenny David

Aug. 17—The Israeli economy lost 103,553 work days to labor strikes in 2014, nearly double the 2013 total, but still only a quarter of the record set for labor strife in 2012.

Layoffs and cutbacks led to the most labor actions in 2014 and caused 31 percent of the year's 26 full-blown strikes, according to a report by the Labor Relations Division of the Economy Ministry.

The 2014 strikes were unusually long. While 65 percent were over in three days or less, 23 percent lasted for more than nine days and included almost 39,000 workers.

Situation ‘Stable'

Fears of layoffs caused the greatest loss of workdays by far in 2014, 64 percent, and accounted for the largest share of strikers, 54 percent. Disputes over labor agreements came next in both categories, followed by management changes, privatization and outsourcing of workers. In smaller numbers, strikes were caused by worsened employment terms and job conditions, employers' rejections of union organizing and hiring of employees without a public tender.

About 70 percent of 2014's strikes affected the public sector—including government employees, education and health services.

Despite the one-year doubling of strikes, the Economy Ministry called the situation “stable,” noting that 2013 was a particularly quiet year for labor unrest after the record number of work conflicts in 2012.

In addition, many strike threats were settled before the strikes materialized, the ministry said.

“This stability characterizes labor relations in recent years and is a testament to the preservation of clear rules of the game among the labor organizations in Israel,” Shlomo Yitzhaki, head of labor relations for the Economy Ministry, said in a statement.

The threat of a general strike in December over the monthly minimum wage, for example, was averted by an agreement to increase pay from 4,300 to 5,000 shekels ($1,130 to $1,320) over two years, the ministry noted.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jenny David in Jerusalem at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at

The full report is available at

For more information on Israeli HR law and regulation, see the Israel primer.