Collective bargaining is when the Histadrut negotiates contracts on behalf of working people with their employers, determining terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, job health and safety policies, ways to balance work and family, and more.
Collective bargaining is globally recognized as a tool that helps to ensure that all workers and companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, reap the benefits of technological innovation, organizational changes, and globalization.
In Israel The Collective Agreement Law, 1957 sets general rules concerning collective agreements, including:
[a] The definition of a collective agreement, which is a written agreement signed by a union and an employer or employers’ association, sent for registration to the Labour and Social Welfare Ministry and dealing with hiring and dismissing workers, terms of employment, labour relations and the rights and obligations of the parties to the agreement.
[b] Rights that collective agreements give workers become part of their individual labour contract.
[c] Individual labour contracts can add to rights set by collective agreements, but not detract from them. [
d] Workers cannot waive rights granted them in collective agreements.
[e] A collective agreement applies to the employer and members of the employers’ association which was party to the agreement and to the union signing it and its’ members working for those employers.
[f] The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare is empowered to extend an industry-wide collective agreement to apply to the entire industry.
[g] A collective agreement is valid for the period set in it, but if neither party sends a termination notice, it is valid indefinitely until a termination notice is sent.
Approximately 30% of the workforce in Israel are covered by one or more collective agreements.
The law differentiates between two forms of collective agreements: a special collective agreement covering one workplace or employer and a general collective agreement covering an industry or the entire workforce. Furthermore, the Minister of Labor can sign an extension order that extends the applicability of a collective agreement to groups of workers not included in the agreement. The extension order may extend the full content of a collective agreement or certain provisions from the agreement. It also contains the types of employees and employers to whom the order applies.