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Highway 1 traffic
Photo: Transport Infrastructure National Company Ltd.
Haifa Chemicals protest leads to highway closure
Protestors abandon their cars in the middle of Highway 1, bringing traffic to a standstill, in protest of a lack of government action in the face of court order that could lead to the termination of thousands of employee contracts.
Highway 1 was blocked Thursday morning by employees of Haifa Chemicals demonstrating against what they fear will lead to massive layoffs, after a court order ruled that the Haifa Bay ammonia container must be emptied and closed by April 1st.

 

 

Witnesses said the protestors stopped their cars in the middle of the road before exiting their vehicles and staging a protest on the highway.

 

Highway 1 closures    (קרדיט: עמית שאבי, נתיבי ישראל, קובי נחשוני)

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The protest led to a heavy traffic jam near the Sha'ar Hagai Interchange in both directions, forcing police to make their way to the scene and disperse the crowds.

 

The flow of traffic resumed after a delay that lasted roughly 30-minutes.

 

Traffic jam near Sha'ar Hagai (Photo: Transport Infrastructure National Company Ltd.) (Photo: Transport Infrastructure National Company Ltd.)
Traffic jam near Sha'ar Hagai (Photo: Transport Infrastructure National Company Ltd.)

 

Employee representatives sought to make clear that they were not protesting the court's decision to close the container, but rather, they were seeking to force the government to find a solution that would prevent their dismissal

 

According to workers engaged in talks with Haifa Chemicals management, without a solution, the company will be forced to close two plants in the country and mkae 1,000 workers redundant.

 

An employee statement called on "all parties responsible, including the minister of finance and other government agencies, to find an immediate solution to prevent layoffs."

 

(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)

 

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