"Prime Minister Netanyahu is trying to deflect the fire from the total failure that led to a million unemployed who are left without livelihoods, and endless lockdowns which have wiped out hundreds of thousands of self-employed," Histadrut chairman Arnon Bar-David said on Thursday.
"If Netanyahu decides to declare war on hundreds of thousands of families of workers and the self-employed, he will find a stronger Histadrut than ever before," Bar-David added, emphasizing that "the Histadrut represents hundreds of thousands of families of employees and the self-employed who have long understood that only a joint organization will prevent harm to their wages and working conditions."
The remarks were made following the publication of recordings of a conversation that Netanyahu had with the independent organization "The Shulmanim". During the conversation, the prime minister tried to mobilize the organization's support for the upcoming elections while defaming workers' councils and organized labor.
Among other things, Netanyahu said: "I do not have 61 votes to make the reforms that sterilize the power of the workers' councils. The workers' councils do not protect weak workers. They are unnecessary in a democracy."
Coalition chairman Miki Zohar: "The facts prove that the Likud is working hard for the self-employed and will continue to do so – this is not contrary to the fact that a large part of the employees who belong to the unions are Likud members. The Likud should not harm them. Of course, we are committed to maintaining a free market and finding the necessary balance between employers' needs and the needs of employees."
Yair Katz, chairman of the Israeli Airforce Industries workers 'union: "The prime minister's remarks are not acceptable to IAI's workers' council. It Is expected from the chairman of the Likud movement not to turn his back on the workers and the Histadrut that represent us.
"The tables have turned, Mr. Prime Minister – workers councils and workers, are Likud members! We are proud to be Likud members and also members of organized labor. Studies show that wherever there is organized labor, productivity increases, and with it employment security. I expect you to renounce the harsh things you tossed at the Histadrut and the working public in Israel!"