A bill Michael Ben-Ari and Ahmed Tibi can agree on (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 08/03/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
Few issues united MKs Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) and Ahmed Tibi
(United Arab List-Ta’al), but the two men from opposite sides of the
political spectrum signed a bill along with 59 other lawmakers from
every faction in the Knesset to protect their assistants’ rights.
The legislation, initiated by MK Avi Dichter (Kadima) following a
proposal by his aide Oren Lavi, is an amendment to the 1994 Knesset
Law regarding parliamentary assistants.
The bill calls for assistants to be considered Knesset employees, and
be employed at the level of professional advisers to ministers.
“We are on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Dichter’s
spokesman Nissan Ze’evi explained. “We are employed like contract
workers, with salaries of NIS 6,800-NIS 7,400 a month.”
Ze’evi also pointed out the Knesset has a budgetary surplus of NIS
250,000, saying it can be used to raise assistants’ salaries.
Should the bill become law, aides would receive the same social
benefits as Knesset employees and the salary and employment
conditions of professional advisers, as determined by the Civil
Parliamentary assistants’ salaries would be paid from the Knesset
budget, as opposed to the current situation in which each MK pays his
or her staff.
“It would be appropriate if the Knesset, the institution that passes
labor laws and deals with most of the workers in this country, would
give MKs’ assistants a clear status, fair salary and social
conditions equal to Knesset workers,” the bill’s explanatory section
Of the 86 MKs who can cosponsor legislation – the 34 ministers and
deputy ministers cannot – 61 signed the parliamentary assistants’
Every lawmaker in the National Union, UAL-Ta’al, Independence,
Habayit Hayehudi and United Torah Judaism is listed on the draft, as
are the vast majority from Kadima, Labor, Shas, Hadas and Meretz.
Fewer than half of the MKs in the Likud, Yisrael Beytenu and Balad
who could have signed the legislation did so.
The bill has yet to be officially submitted, as the Knesset is in
summer recess, and aides are waiting to hear the Grunau Public
Committee on MKs’ salaries recommendations on the matter.
In a February Knesset House Committee meeting, when MKs unanimously
approved raising their own salaries, the Parliamentary Assistants
Committee protested their low pay compared to spokespeople of Knesset
committees, who are employed by the Knesset Spokesman’s Office, are
paid NIS 12,000 a month and get a car.
The assistants said the Grunau Committee recommended assistants
receive a raise, as long as they commit to working full-time and not
seek additional employment.
The aides voted overwhelmingly in favor of the measure, but it was
not submitted the House Committee for a vote. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 08/03/12)
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