In a statement issued this morning (Tuesday), the Ministry of Finance continues to accuse the social workers ‘representative of failing to reach an overall agreement, and among other things writes that “in the negotiations that have taken place in recent weeks between the social workers’ representatives and the Ministry of Finance. “In this context, it was agreed that the social workers will increase their wages by thousands of shekels in the coming year and next year. However, the workers’ representative chose to postpone the details of the agreement due to its desire to negotiate a permanent wage agreement.”
Katz referred to the checkpoint in negotiations yesterday (Monday) during a discussion in the Knesset Finance Committee, when he said that the Ministry of Finance reached an agreement with the chairman of the Social Facts Committee, Inbal Hermoni, but they regretted it. “We reached agreements and then she went back on it, noting that she did not want to discuss without permanent wage agreements – it is impossible at this time to cross the line of wage agreements,” the finance minister said.
Despite the alleged barrier in the negotiations, the Ministry of Finance announced this morning that “out of a commitment to guarantee the personal safety of social workers and a great appreciation for their dedication and help to the general public,” it decided to immediately budget the issue of social worker protection. The budget for the protected program will be as agreed in the negotiations between the Ministry of Finance and social workers, amounting to NIS 70 million, by the end of 2021.
The protection program will be launched immediately and independently of the continuation of negotiations with the social workers.
Katz said that “I am full of appreciation for the dedication of the social workers and their contribution and help to the general public. “I pledged to listen and resolve the issues at stake, as I did last night with the chairman of the Brothers and Sisters Association.
“Officials in the Treasury fail Israel Katz”
The chairman of the Association of Social Facts said: “There will be nothing because there is nothing. Unfortunately, the finance officials are misleading the finance minister with fabrications and half-truths. The strike and protest will continue until the media bluffs are replaced by finance officials with responsibility and honest negotiations.”
“The press bluff about budgeting for the establishment of the shelter system has no grip on reality because the Ministry of Finance does not agree on a budget with the Ministry of Welfare.
“The bureaucracy in the Treasury is failing Israel Katz with stories about the wage demands. The union of social workers demands an arbitration agreement on the structure of wages. It is clear to everyone that an outline of arbitration will take several months, so the claim of lack of budget is nothing more than a spin to break the spirit of the facts.
“Finance officials are calling on us to return to the negotiating table – we have been waiting for a week for negotiations that have been violently and unilaterally stopped. We will arrive at any time. The finance minister knows that the finance officials deceived him and did not set up negotiations. We call on the prime minister and finance minister Remove the opacity barriers of the treasury and resolve the welfare crisis. ”
Recall that the background to the negotiations between the Ministry of Finance and the social workers is the workers’ strike and the social workers amid their claim that their profession is in a deep, unrewarded crisis and the workers are in constant danger without any protection from the state.
The strike of social facts leaves the most vulnerable populations exposed, precisely at a time when social services are most needed; During the greatest socio-economic crisis that befell Israel. According to data from the Ministry of Welfare, in the first week of July there was a 47% increase in the number of applicants to social services departments compared to the corresponding week in 2019. And a 6% increase from the last week of June to the first week of July. The number of applicants who were not previously well-known at all before this is an increase of 10%. Since the beginning of the Corona crisis, seven women have been murdered by their spouses, the number of reports of domestic violence has increased by 50%, and the number of complaints of violence against children and youth has increased by 760%.
This, along with a sharp increase in symptoms of anxiety, depression and emotional distress, as evidenced by CBS data; 33.4% felt stressed and anxious and 25.7% said their children’s emotional state had worsened. In addition, 20.2% claimed their mental state had worsened. The economic context is clear – According to the data, 45% of Israelis report a worsening of their economic situation, almost half of Israelis fear that they will not be able to pay for food, electricity and telephone.
During a routine, a local authority social worker cares for an average of 300 families, 1,500 people, alone. The senior social worker cares for about 500 elderly people at the same time alone, and the youth law social worker takes care of 250 children and high-risk youth at the same time when she is employed in three quarters of the position.
In this situation, there are long queues in the mental health system, and a delay of more than a year in submitting court reviews.