Gedaliahu H. Harel is a visiting professor at the School of Labor and Industrial Relations, Michigan State University, and senior lecturer at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. Aaron Cohen is a graduate assistant at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, Technion • Israel Institute of Technology.
This article examines the experience of the first two years with interest arbitration in the public sector in Israel, it also considers the extent to which interest arbitration in the public sector can succeed in a context in which strike prohibition is not, or cannot be, enforced. The authors base their review on an analysis of 29 decisions handed down by the Tribunal for Voluntary Arbitration in 1977 and 1978 and on detailed interviews with key officials in Israel.
On February 2, 1977, following a period of labor unrest, especially in the public sector, and under pressure of pre-election ferment, the government of Israel and the General Federation of Labor (Histadrut) signed a collective agreement establishing the Tribunal for Voluntary Arbitration (TVA) in the public services. The TVA is a unique attempt to resolve labor conflicts in the public sector in an environment in which public sector strikes are the norm rather than the exception. It provides a valuable opportunity to study the mechanism of interest arbitration under the increasingly prevalent conditions of strong labor organizations refusing to abide by explicit strike prohibition clauses.