JERUSALEM (Jul. 26)
The Cabinet decided in principle Sunday to adopt a five-day work week for the civil services and authorized Finance Minister Moshe Nissim to negotiate the major change in Israeli labor relations with the Histadrut.
The Histadrut, in its latest round of wage negotiations, has made the five-day work week a major demand.
The Cabinet set several conditions for the change: the Histadrut must sign statewide work agreements for two years and must agree to manpower reductions in the public sector; the change will not require enlarging the state budget; and no salary increases or cuts in total number of work hours will result from the change.
Any agreement with the Histadrut is subject to the approval of the whole government. Some 14 ministers supported the change in the Cabinet session Sunday. Former Finance Minister Yitzhak Modai, Gideon Patt, Science and Technology Minister, and Minister-Without-Portfolio Moshe Arens, all of Likud, voted against the measure and four abstained.
Yisrael Kessar, Secretary General of the Histadrut, welcomed the decision as a step in the right direction. Correction
An article in the July 22 Bulletin incorrectly identified Hadassah as being part of the General Zionist Confederation. It is part of the World Confederation of United Zionists, which includes Bnai Zion and the American Jewish League for Israel. In addition, Hadassah has not endorsed anyone for the chairmanship of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization.