Saturday, October 13, 2007

To all readers!

Please Note: I have changed the settings to this blog to allow anonymous comments, so you don't need to log in or have an account.

I welcome all of your comments!


The teacher's strike in Israel is seriously disrupting hundreds of thousands of high school students and their families (including mine). Israel still has a very strong socialist vestige, and the labor laws and courts essentially block the possibility or breaking a strike. In the recent past, Israel has been afflicted by strikes at Ben Gurion airport, the sea ports, city services (including garbage collection), banks, universities, hospitals and postal services. There has been some form of teacher's strike almost every academic year. I would claim that at a societal level this is very dysfunctional and would qualify for a Darwin Award. Most of the strikes end with very marginal gains for the strikers, who then strike again after a short time. They are often political in nature, intended to advance the interest of a particular labor leader or organization. The electric company, which is a national monopoly and has the highest paid workers of any sector in the economy (including private), can also strike and bring the country to its knees but shutting down the power (although this hasn't happened in a long time, thankfully).

It's about time that Israel revises its labor law to ban strikes in the public sector (such a law exists in the US for federal workers) . In 2002 when Bibi Netanyahu was finance minister he initiated legislation to outlaw public worker strikes but backed down when the unions agreed to accepts wage cuts during a severe economic slowdown. These strike cause severe economic damage to Israel, not only in direct losses in productivity, but due to harm in its industry's ability to meet commitments to international partners, and thus result in lost/cancelled agreements, future deals and imposed penalties.

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