Social workers suspended all welfare services in Tel Aviv and the central part of the country, from Gedera in the south to Hedera in the north, on Thursday, December 13, calling for urgent reforms to guarantee their physical protection, provide them with higher salaries, and grant them overall improved working conditions. Since last week, the Social Workers Union has been striking daily on a rotational basis in different regions of the country, during which there is no reception of the public, no committee meetings related to child safety and domestic violence, and no preparation of court briefings.
Up until Thursday of this week, social workers had gone out on strike and demonstrated in the northern and southern parts of Israel and in the Jerusalem area. On Thursday, those providing welfare services in the center of the country joined the campaign, with thousands of social workers blocking for an hour the Azrieli Intersection, just outside a large governmental office complex in Tel Aviv.
Inbal Hermoni, head of the Social Workers Union, maintains that the social services in Israel are on the verge of collapse. “Social workers need to make an honorable living instead of ending up as punching-bags. Without a real solution to our poor working conditions and huge caseload, there won’t be any social services in Israel. We demand serious negotiations with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services and with the Treasury to save Israel’s welfare services,” she told demonstrators.
Chairwoman of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, Hadash MK Aida Touma-Suleiman (Joint List), added that “social workers have been suffering from poor working conditions but most of all, from violence.” The Hadash fraction in the Histadrut has expressed solidarity with the struggle of the social workers and many Hadash activists in the workers’ movement have been participating in their demonstrations across the country in recent days.