Israeli bus drivers from across the country gathered at the Azrieli intersection of Menachem Begin Street and Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv, in order to protest how they have been treated by the Transportation Ministry. Among the reasons given for the strike, which was organized by the National Labor Federation (Histadrut) and the Union of Bus Drivers were: the loss of benefits incurred by a driver who switches from one company to another, the low pay, the recent wave of violence against bus drivers that has gone unchecked, and the difficult work environment that they are forced to endure.
The drivers blocked the major thoroughfare, which leads to the large government complex in Tel Aviv, for most of the morning in protest. The drivers demanded that their benefits be maintained even if they transfer between companies and that their wages be increased. They spread tires across the intersection to prevent traffic from passing and wrote signs stating “It is time for a change,” and “We are putting the steering wheel in our hands”
According to the union of bus drivers, there is currently a lack of 4,000 qualified drivers, and that lack will increase to 10,000 in the near future.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)