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Jerusalem's cleaners blessed with pay and benefits hike
Jerusalem's Economy Minister Naftali Bennett has looked after the interests of private sector cleaners since coming to power and he has told the Jerusalem Post that raising the cleaners' wages is the most important decision he's made since he became a minister, since the cleaners are wonderful people, who work so hard.
From next month, in an estimated overall improvement in pay and benefits of 20%, the cleaners will receive almost NIS 1,000 (£173.50) extra in their combined monthly pay and benefits package, following an agreement signed on Wednesday by the Economy Ministry and the Histadrut Labour Federation.
Monthly salaries are to increase NIS 340 (£59.00 / €71 / $96) above the minimum wage of NIS 4,300 (£745.75 / €897 / $1,214) now paid. In addition, pension provision will rise to 21.83% (a joint contribution between employee and employer - 1 percentage point above the standard) and there will be a 10% contribution to the cleaners' education fund (a contribution of 7.5% of the salary from the employer, with 2.5% coming from the employee), two annual NIS 200 holiday gifts, days off for special events such as weddings, and convalescence pay of NIS 50 above the accepted amount for each day of work.
Employers are to supply at least two sets of work uniforms a year, and those that offer subsidised food/cafeterias are to allow contract worker to use them.
The Minister said at the signing ceremony, that the cleaners were the economy's "invisible workers". He revealed that most were single mothers, new immigrants and minorities, and that despite their hard work, their salaries and social status were the lowest possible. "Today that ends," he said.
Ofer Eini, the Histadrut Labour Federation's chairman, was delighted with the deal.
"For the first time, cleaning workers in the private sector will enjoy all the social benefits enloyed by state employees. This is the first step in returning their dignity, that they feel part of the workplace," he said.
The Jerusalem Post reports that the parties are nearing a breakthrough in negotiations for a similar order for private sector security workers.
In February 2012, the Histadrut led a four-day general strike over the issue of cleaners and security guards in the public sector, many of whom had worse working conditions than their salaried counterparts because they were hired on a contractual basis. The strike ended following an agreement to increase wages and benefits for the contract workers, and to absorb a portion of them into direct employment under certain conditions.
13th February 2014