The chair of the Histadrut general federation of labor unions, Arnon Bar-David, convened a meeting of the organization's senior officials and the heads of major Israeli trade unions regarding his discussions over the weekend with the Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister. Bar-David also updated the officials that an emergency headquarters has been established to help trade union leaders enforce the new protocols that have gone into effect in workplaces across the country to safeguard the health of workers.

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Nurses at the COVID-19 ward at Rambam Medical Center (photograph: Rambam Medical Center)

Bar-David also expressed the need for strong economic leadership that will successfully manage the situation. Bar-David said, "We need to know not only how we are going to get through the current crisis safely, but what the State of Israel will look like when we emerge from it. Even though disagreements broke out between the Histadrut, the private sector, and senior officials from the Finance Ministry and the government, it is clear to all parties that we are facing a crisis of a magnitude that the State of Israel has not had to deal with in the past. Therefore a huge responsibility rests on our shoulders."

The Histadrut chair added, “Every chairperson of a trade union must show responsibility and lead their community. We are at war and should act accordingly. We will keep on working and doing everything we can for Israel's workers, economy and society.”

The Histadrut will open additional capacity for its "Hotline for Every Worker" – *2383 telephone line, making accessible to callers the latest information regarding their rights in light of the implications of the new coronavirus government protocols. Since the hotline's expansion, the Histadrut has handled upwards of 1,600 workers' inquiries on a daily basis.

Histadrut information hotline (image from Histadrut video)

The service will be provided in a dynamic and ongoing fashion that is consistent with the Health Ministry's rapidly changing guidelines.