A moment before the historic agreement between Minister Moshe Cahlon and the IEC workers, we are calling government representatives not to give into the pressures of the workers! The electricity power market requires real reform, now, as prescribed by law.
We stand before a historic verdict: whether the electricity market will remain a monopoly or be opened up to competition. Every month each one of us pays a great deal of money on our electricity bills for this monopoly and we now finally have an opportunity to put an end to it.
Unfortunately, this won’t happen without a battle: the government has been attempting to carry out a reform that would open up the electricity market to competition for over 20 years (the Knesset passed the law for electricity reform in 1996) and has consistently not succeeded in doing so. This is due to the fact that the Electric Corporation’s workers’ union and the Histadrut (The national workers’ union) exert a great deal of effort to block these reforms. Each time this matter is brought up for discussion they threaten to “pull the plug” and hold the country and the public hostage, while the rest of us pay the price. We mustn’t keep flouting public interest in this way.
There is of course no doubt that the workers’ union has a right to voice its claims, and the workers themselves should certainly be taken into account in the process of opening up the market. Still, it is inconceivable for the Electric Corporation’s workers’ union to be the body that decides what happens in the country, and for the public to pay the price for this. The workers’ union ought to be listened to regarding everything that has to do with the workers’ conditions and the effects of the reforms upon them (such as they may be). But it is the state that must be the one to determine the structure of the electricity market through a democratic process. It is inconceivable that a small group with monopolistic power should continue to block the implementation of a reform voted upon by the Knesset for twenty years – the very task for which it was elected by the public.
This matter has also reached the courts, and unfortunately given the situation in which we find ourselves the court has granted the workers’ committee more power than the Knesset. Accordingly, we have set out on a legal and public battle regarding the matter. We have submitted a request to be included in the legal process taking place in this regard and to make the voice of the public heard against the immense power that is attempting to prevent change. The court must also hear the voice of public interest. Moreover, we have begun a public campaign that has been joined by thousands of citizens within a short space of time.