Israeli Labor Federation Calls Nationwide Strike

Published February 8, 2012 6:00AM (EST)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's labor federation has launched a nationwide strike for the first time in five years, designed to shut down national and local government offices, banks, the stock exchange, rail service and seaports.

The call for an open-ended strike is expected to draw a strong response.

Ben-Gurion International Airport is to be on strike until noon on Wednesday.

Union leaders are protesting the widespread use of contract workers who earn less than workers who are directly employed. Contract workers also do not enjoy the same benefits as regular employees.

Last-ditch talks overnight between the finance ministry and the Histadrut labor federation did not produce a breakthrough.

The Israeli Chambers of Commerce says the strike would cost the economy $100 million a day.

By Salon Staff

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