JERUSALEM, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Israeli public bus drivers went on strike on Sunday morning to demand a pay rise and better working conditions.
The strike involved more than 5,000 drivers from five companies, out of about 16,000 drivers in 14 bus companies operating Israel's public lines, Israel Ganon, chairman of the Israel Bus Drivers Union, told Xinhua.
The drivers demand the government raise wages, improve basic conditions such as allowing breaks for rest and refreshment, and prevent the frequent violence against them, Ganon said.
As part of the strike, the drivers shut down bus lines throughout the country from the start of the service to 9 a.m. local time, the rush hour of the first day of a new work week, and blocked roads to aggravate traffic jams, according to the union's head.
"To get a reasonable salary, drivers need to work double hours a month," Ganon explained.
"The workload makes them nervous and causes them to be late, and therefore the passengers suffer as well," he added.
The Israeli authorities have yet to respond to the strike.