Histadrut Jurist Union warns of labor dispute due to planned government reforms
Histadrut Jurist Union Chairman, Adv. Yitzhak Gordon warned the Minister of Justice, Yariv Levin, that the union will declare a labor dispute if the Judicial reforms presented by the Minister proceed without negotiations with the union.
In a letter sent to Levin, and to the Minister and the Civil Service Commissioner, Daniel Hershkovitz, Gordon detailed the concerns for the sanctity of the roles of jurists in the civil service.
Gordon pointed out how the Government is working to promote drastic changes to the public legal service that have existed for decades. Amongst other things, the Government seeks to promote legislative amendments, extraordinary discussions in Knesset committees, promoting various administrative decisions and moves, and more.
As part of these changes, the Government intends to transform the legal advisers to the government ministries from professional office holders selected in tenders to positions to personal appointees by the individual ministers.
Gordon wrote, “These changes have heavy consequences for the employees of the public legal service, including their very employment. They are expected to seriously harm the employees and their rights, their livelihood, their jobs, their professional future, and their occupational security, prospects of promotion, terms of service, employment and retirement, status in the workplace, their professionalism, their powers, and the essence, content, and nature of their roles and work and more.”
Gordon warned that “The basis of the entire public service in Israel for decades is the ethos and way of operating and the work of the government and the civil service is: a professional, apolitical, independent, civil service that exercises governmental powers towards the individual citizen and acts regarding public assets, public funds and public rights as a trustee of the public, equally and in accordance with the law and the rules of proper administration, without conflict of interest and without arbitrariness, relying on the legal advisors as professional independent gatekeepers. The fundamental changes planned in the work of the public legal service, as mentioned, change the work of the public legal service and the work of the public service as a whole. From the point of view of the employees, this is a comprehensive change in their world, their workplace, and their way of working, on the basis of which they started working in public service and built their careers and the course of their lives. The expected damage to the rights of these workers is, therefore, dramatic and extremely difficult.”
Gordon concluded that “The Jurists’ Union, as the union that represents the employees of the public legal service, will not accept this conduct and demands that the Government act immediately in all ways to stop the attacks and harassment of the employees of the public service and to give the employees the full backing and protections required in order to carry out their duties safely and professionally.”
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