“Package deal yes, extra cost absolutely no”

  • Marital Status: Married + 5

  • residence: Tel Aviv

  • role: The supervisor of wages and labor relations

  • education: Bachelor’s degree in economics at the Hebrew University

  • Previous positions: The deputy commissioner of wages, the deputy director of the enforcement unit in the department of the commissioner of wages

  • Something else: Travels with the family almost every weekend around the country

The first recommendation of the Finance Commissioner Kobi Bar-Nathan to the next Minister of Finance will probably be to reach a new package deal in the economy. the previous deal which was signed in November 2021 It failed and did not pass the Knesset, mainly because the members of the Knesset thought that the pace at which it raises the minimum wage is a mockery of the minimum wage relative to the increase in the average wage and the cost of living. It is likely that the next deal, like the one that failed, will deal with the issues of the minimum wage, vacation days and overtime pay, as well as employment flexibility and adapting the labor market to the new world of work.

“I will advise the government to once again convene the relevant players and reach a package deal or another deal because it has been proven that this is a way that everyone wants to promote,” says Bar-Nathan. According to him, “The goal of the previous deal was to give stability and certainty in personnel matters alongside the stability provided by the transfer of the budget. We were in the micron. They didn’t know where the economy would go.”

The job market is booming. Why do you need another attempt for a package deal?

“The labor market is still unstable. The corona virus has completely confused it. Do we know if low unemployment remains, which professions lack workers and which professions have a surplus, and what happens to the average wage and the minimum wage? It’s too frantic. A package deal is one of the answers to the labor market.” .

If there is no package deal, the minimum wage will be updated in January. In your opinion, will this harm the economy?

“The increase in the minimum wage will be quite close to what was planned in the package deal.” The minimum wage was supposed to be updated according to the deal from NIS 5,300 to NIS 5,400 last April and up to NIS 6,000 in 2025.

The value of the income of very low-wage workers has been hurt by the increase in inflation. Maybe it’s time to renew the price increase?

“There is an agreement with the employers that this tool can only be used from 8% inflation and above. The last time it was used was in the early 2000s when inflation was much higher. You have to be careful when you go to this tool. The real wage has risen in recent years. Therefore, coming and taking one year off is not right thing”.

“No. I don’t believe there will be any more big agreements.”

Why is the agreement with the teachers’ organization left behind?

“The teachers’ organization is the last one to sign a big agreement with before all the rounds of elections and the corona started. Its agreement only ended this year. Remember that with Ran Erez, chairman of the teachers’ organization, a beginning teacher received NIS 8,300 a month already in the previous agreement, meaning they were before the teachers’ union” .

It seems that the success in salary negotiations depends on the size and strength of the shivar on which the committee sits. The social facts, for example, received A much less generous agreement.

“I do not accept that the social workers received a less impressive agreement. It is a very generous agreement that changed the salary structure. It cannot be compared because it is a different agreement with different goals. It has the possibility of professional development. We have proven in all the recent agreements that we have signed that there is no agreement that does not improve service or benefit Significant for the public. This is the standard for us. Don’t just ask. We say: big money, smart money.”

Negotiations with the senior academic staff are approaching. Will you require the possibility of a differential salary?

“We are in favor of differential wages. It is much more effective. You want a high level of academia. You cannot in a world of supply and demand give the same to everyone. It is ineffective and does not meet the need. And we need to see how to do it in a dose that does not spill the baby with the water”.

That is, differential advancement according to research field?

“With the doctors, we created differentials by profession. This can also happen in the academy. It has to be done correctly. Our goal is that the president, CEO and rector can decide which field they want to strengthen. We also think it is right to introduce personal contracts in small percentages to universities, for example if a novelist researcher comes. Not everyone. But if each institution has two, three, ten researchers at the level of the world’s leading universities, each one of them creates a high-level laboratory around him. Its ripples can bounce the academy. We did not come to break up organized labor, but to give it to a few individuals.”

What do you really think about organized work?

“The problem is that since the industrial revolution, when employers may have been rude and approachable, the situation has changed a bit. Today, the balance is very much in favor of the workers. If there is a workers’ organization that just says ‘no, no, no,’ it brings down the organization itself. We are looking for tools to deal with This”.

What tools would you like?

What does it matter that they have to talk?

“Our experience shows that the more you are with a person and talk, in the end you close an agreement. People need time. There is maturation. A good mediator – can allow a flounder. What do the employees have to lose? So you tried and postponed the mess for two weeks. What’s the problem? I say. Let’s try to sit together’. It’s like in family courts there is an obligation to mediate. Working relationships are very similar to marital relationships. I’m a bit poetic.”

We’ll go with it. What are they similar to?

“When the relationship is good, you know how to overcome crises. It’s the same in work relationships. In marital relationships, the matter of trust is very important. When there is no trust, it doesn’t work. It should be said, however, that in most marital relationships you can break up. In work relationships, there is no such possibility. Those who are always hurt when the marital relationship is not good are those The children. In labor relations, the public is the one who gets hurt.”

Speaking of trust, why is the negotiation with the teachers accompanied by so many mutual slanders?

“We tried very hard and were careful not to speak to a person’s body but to the body’s body. But in negotiations you are not in a utopian world, at teatime for four you eat biscuits. Dealing with wages is a thing with a lot of emotions. It is no longer an exchange. It is about the money of the workers that the other side represents “.

What kind of profession did you choose that you are constantly haggling over salary?

“It’s a great profession for those who like dynamics and challenges. It’s an amazing interpersonal interaction that there isn’t much like. You know the impact. You feel the mission.”

Great to sit and fight all the time? It is very hostile.

“Not every negotiation is a fight. It’s very emotional. Let’s make a distinction between hostile and emotional. It can lead to hostility. People need to have a very high emotional intelligence. Know not to push the other side to the edge. There are many beautiful moments.”

Give an example of a beautiful moment with the Secretary General of the Teachers’ Union Ben David.

“The conclusion was the most beautiful moment.”

Why did you attend Ben David’s son’s wedding?

“Certainly not as part of the negotiations. She invited me to an event that for her is exciting and I came to honor her.”

the government approved last August Legislation that would retroactively qualify the Chief of Staff’s increases to the recipients of the budget pension, increases that were given for years in a legally questionable manner. Bar Natan and the Commissioner of Budgets, Yogev Gerdos, drafted a strong position paper opposing this legislation due to its high budgetary cost. The professional opposition did not help, but the legislation Stuck after the first reading in the Knesset.

“On the issue of increasing the Chief of Staff, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Finance decided. They heard the professional level and made a decision,” says Bar-Nathan. “It passed the first reading. I don’t know what the next government will do. We thought this was not true. I am a professional. I gave the recommendation including the meaning of it.”

You were not so passive. You wrote a ten-page document to the government against the decision.

“The finance minister knew we were interested in writing. He said he had no problem with the document being before the government ministers. There is something very respectful in the fact that he allowed the professional level to express a position publicly.”

Early retirement is customary in the security system and it is customary to pay retirees a bridging pension, from early retirement to the official retirement age. This creates prolonged pension payments to people of working age whose cost over the years is estimated at several million shekels per person. In June of this year, the Treasury reachedAgreement with the institution for special positions on a ground-breaking track for accepting high-paid employees that does not include a bridging pension and is intended especially for high-tech people.
“In addition to a bridging pension, we also created a world of content that speaks to technological personnel who do not enter there to reach retirement, who are looking for a short career. But if you want to attract them, then you can pay a higher salary without a bridging pension,” says Bar-Nathan. “This is the model we strongly believe should be talked about Also in the IDF, or a bridging pension or a higher salary. It is not suitable for every permanent person. For example, for a combat officer, a mediation pension is more appropriate. The goal is not just cheap, cheap, cheap. Sometimes in worlds cheap personnel destroys.”

Where do the negotiations with the IDF stand? Is there progress in the willingness to follow a path without bridging pensions?

“I think they are starting to internalize there as well. Not only because we are the Ministry of Finance and we say it steadfastly. The labor market is also saying. They have a very strong behavioral science department and they are doing their tests. The question is no longer whether there will be another track, but for how many people “.

Most of Bar-Natan’s term was conducted under election systems or the corona crisis. It spared him, or at least postponed, a great many labor struggles. But there have also been dramatic changes in the labor market, for example the transition to remote work.

Bar-Nathan says that “about 40% of all employees in the civil service participate in remote work arrangements. Both the managers and the employees are satisfied with the work-from-home arrangement. We recognize a considerable improvement in the home-work balance.” According to him, “We created a hybrid model according to which employees can work from home and arrive at the workplace at 11:00-12:00 and it saves the traffic jams. Sometimes you can start the day at the workplace, go back to be with the children and continue the day later.”

“It’s 70% of those whose work makes it possible. There are places where this can’t happen. A large part of the public sector works front-line. A little less prison guard can work from home. Teachers spend most of the time teaching in the classroom. In addition, some of the public sector are still conservative. I can’t force them . They are employers in their own right. They are big kids. We bring them the tools.”

In general, Bar-Nathan says that “the public sector has not adapted itself sufficiently to the labor market. There are professions that pay too much and professions that pay too little. The public sector is often slower to respond than the private sector. We in collective agreements want to converge to the market price as much as possible so that we can compete and we can to pay a proper wage. This is included in every agreement in recent years.”

Do you manage to recruit the people you want for your wing?

“I have people in my department at a very high level, even though some of them have excellent alternatives. The reason is that this is one of the places with the most meaning in work and public mission. Even though they are young, they are not nuts. Their position is heard. The promotion here is fast. I am so happy with those who are here . I’m so proud of them. My employees are patrollers for everything and anything.”

The satisfaction of the employees leaves the director of the investigation and intelligence unit in the payroll department at the Treasury, Yuval Makkash. He was completely acquitted in three courts (including the Supreme Court) of serious disciplinary offenses attributed to him – and returned to work last year after a two-year suspension. But even though the Labor Court ordered the treasurer to return all his powers to him and canceled his “exile” to a distant office, the Treasury continued to move to depose him and, according to Maksham, also hindered his steps. The High Court also harshly criticized the continued attempts to fire Makfesh despite the rulings. “The issue started before I took office,” Bar-Natan replies. “The High Court decided what it decided and we respect the decision, of course.”

Actually there was a claim by the lawyer of Makkash that they are not respected.

“You can argue. They say much worse things about me.”

Including the possibility to work and powers?

And what do you think about his return to work?

“That I respect what the court says. Did you expect not?”

Where will we find you after this role?

“Maybe in India. First of all there is a chill.”

Maybe you will be a teacher?

“I’m not sure I’m talented enough to be a teacher.”

So, as is customary in the treasury, you will end up in a private corporation with a fat salary.

“In the end, a small percentage does it, but it’s possible. I don’t know. I’ve been in the Treasury for over 17 years. I’ve invested and continue to invest a lot of hours in the position. I’ve done many correct and infrastructural things in the department, including handling human capital and interfaces. I think I’ve contributed a lot. We’ll see.” .

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