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Histadrut to ‘shut Down’ Economy Next Month with Open-ended Strike

Histadrut, Israel’s labor federation, warned Tuesday that it will “shut down the economy” with a general strike next month to protest the government’s new economic program.

The strike will start Oct. 18 and will be of indefinite duration, Chaim Haberfeld, head of Histadrut’s trade unions department, told a news conference here. He said it would be “like no other strike ever organized” in Israel.

A half-million public sector employees will be directly affected, but the walkout will have an impact on the private sector as well, Histadrut officials predicted.

“It won’t be a symbolic one-day strike with lots of exemptions. This strike will hit the government where it hurts and will shut down the economy,” Haberfeld said.

He said that while Histadrut is ready to cooperate with the government, it will not accept Finance Minister Yitzhak Moda’i’s economic plan.

Among other things, the plan lowers the minimum wage, reduces unemployment benefits and taxes pension funds.

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