UNI in solidarity with striking Israeli workers
A general strike was held in Israel on Sunday, in response to the severe crisis at the TEVA multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Israel.
The strike encompassed the public and private sectors, which included, among others, government offices, municipalities, the Knesset, Israel Airport Autotomy, Israel Tax Authority, the Stock Exchange, sea ports, Israel Electric Corporation, hospitals, universities, museums, credit card companies, insurance companies, cellular phone companies, hi-tech and internet companies, transportation companies, banks and more.
In parallel to this inclusive and well-observed strike action , all the activities at TEVA's mutiple sites were halted and demonstrations were held in front of the sites in several cities in Israel.
Avi Nissenkoren, the Chairman of UNI Global Union's affiliate Histadrut said: "These are testing times for the State of Israel's leadership and an expression of the impressive mobilization of the working public.
"The solidarity strike to save the industry in Israel is a decisive statement in favor of the values of mutual guarantee, blue and white (the symbol of local Israeli products) and to stop viewing the workers as transparent, and against the insensitivity of anyone who exploits the State of Israel's resources and sends thousands of families into the cycle of unemployment. We will not let this happen. This is a difficult hour, but in the struggle for the social face of the State of Israel, we are all determined and united in the struggle for the benefit of TEVA employees and ensuring the future of the company in Israel. The current crisis in TEVA was born because of the company's management's and board of directors' fault, and it's the State of Israel's responsibility to prevent a situation that thousands of families in Israel will be forced to pay the price for it."
The Histadrut said: "The solidarity strike is part of a broad struggle for TEVA workers, the future of local industry, encouragement of blue and white, and a mandatory step for strengthening the status of the workers in Israel. The Israeli workers are not transparent and layoffs must be the last step and not the first step in the entire public and private Israeli economy. We are witnessing a broad public mobilization that has a clear message: the workers are not just numbers in Excel tables. The recent conduct of TEVA has been a dangerous step for organized labour in Israel and for the status of the workers in Israel.
"The struggle that began this morning is a solidarity struggle under the values of mutual guarantee and we will continue to act with all the power and the determination in order to reduce the harsh verdict in order to save factories in the periphery and in Jerusalem; prevent a situation in which a company that was born and grew thanks to workers in Israel, will turn its back on the state and perpetuate a dangerous precedent for the entire Israeli economy and local industry; and ensure the "blue and white" industry.
"The government is allocating billions of NIS to companies without the condition of employment and investment in the country and we must change this reality. The government of Israel must mobilize and join the Histadrut's struggle for the industry and workers, the encouragement of blue and white, reducing layoffs and preventing the closing of factories in Jerusalem.
"The workers' outcry will continue to reverberate until the walls of insensitivity will be broken! The workers are not transparent and the Histadrut will continue to fight for them and alongside them until an appropriate solution for the crisis will be formulated."
On Monday, December 18, at 10:00, Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkoren, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Industry Minister Eli Cohen were due to hold a joint meeting with the representatives of the TEVA employees' committees and the workers