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Regulator slams Bank of Israel over excessive wages

Finance Minister may be called upon to intervene

Wages and Labor Agreements Director General Yuval Rachlevsky today presented a report to the Knesset on public sector wages.

Rachlevsky severely criticized the wage agreements at Bank of Israel, evident in high wages paid to hundreds of workers. Rachlevsky said that the agreements are outdated and include items that no longer exist in any other public sector, such as training benefits paid to all workers.

Rachlevsky was also critical of NIS 15,000 annual wage increases paid year after year to senior officials who have been promoted.

The regulator said that he has asked Finance Minister Silvan Shalom to intervene in the wages paid to bank employees. The wages are the highest in the public sector, second only to wages paid at Israel Electric Corporation.

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"Each time we approach the Bank of Israel we are evaded on all kinds of pretexts. The bank gives us information that is not up to date," Rachlevsky said.

A Bank of Israel spokesman said that employee wages have been examined for years in comparison to wages in the public sector. The spokesman said that recent wage analysis indicates wage increases at the bank have been lower than in the public sector in general. The bank also said the workforce was cut from 977 in 1995 to today's 851 workers.