Because of war: Travel firms to work 4 days a week - Israel Business, Ynetnews

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Because of war: Travel firms to work 4 days a week

Issta, Ophir Tours, and Unital to cut weekly hours. Need to shift down a gear for now, representatives say

Danny Sadeh
Published: 07.30.06, 23:07 / Israel Business

It's the height of the summer, the season when transportation companies typically hire hundreds of extra workers.  But this year, pursuant to the situation in the north, companies have begun limiting work days and cutting overtime.


Among them, Issta, Israel's largest travel company, switched its workers to a four-day-a-week schedule. Unital has stopped approving worker overtime, and Ophir Tours is sending workers on leave in August.


"In preparation for the summer, travel companies hire workers," said one travel agent. "They train them so that, by the summer season, they can help with the anticipated influx of tourists. But, for three weeks, the companies have been at a stand-still. We know that when the conflict ends, the bottleneck will be released and the phones will start ringing off the hook, but, at this point, we had no choice but to shift down a gear and reduce working hours," he added.


"The situation is definitely not good, but we’re coping with it and we'll deal with the crisis," said Zohar Endelman, CEO of the Israir Group, which includes Israir Flights and travel companies Unital and Natur.


The Ophir Tours travel company decided to force workers to go on leave in August and informed their employees that they needed to take a 4 to 5 day vacation during the month, on account of their vacation days. Normally, leave for travel company workers in August in unheard of. Concurrently, Ophir Tours paid more than 70 percent of their office employees in the north their July salaries last week.


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