Ashdod Port
Photo: Shai Ben-Yishai
Manufacturers Association President Zvika Oren
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Court ends port workers' strike

Port employees, Treasury agree during Labor Court hearing to launch intensive talks over employees' pensions

National Labor Court President Nili Arad ruled on Sunday to end the port workers' strike, ordering the employees and the Treasury to hold intensive negotiations to resolve the dispute over pensions.


The ruling was announced at the conclusion of a hearing over the Manufacturers Association of Israel's motion to issue an injunction against the strike due to the immense financial losses caused by the ports' closure.


According to the Histadrut Labor Union, Israel Ports' employees are to return to work Sunday night, after an agreement was reached during the hearing which requires the State to protect the workers' pension funds.


A follow-up hearing is to be held within two weeks to assess the progress in the negotiations.

נמל אשדוד, הערב. התעשיינים: "העובדים דחו את הפשרות" (צילום: שי בן ישי) 

Ashdod port on Sunday (Photo: Shai Ben-Yishai)

"We hope that the hearing will force the sides to reach a compromise, and if that doesn't work we will have to take additional steps in order to make that happen," Manufacturers Association President Zvika Oren said.


According to the manufacturers, the disruptions instigated by the port workers over the past two weeks have caused production to drop by 20%-30%.


"We have tried to reach different compromises in every way possible, but these were rejected by the unions and the government," said Zvi Plada, head of the Manufacturers Association's transport division.


Workers demand pension protection

The port workers' union and the Histadrut launched the strike at 6 am Sunday, shutting down the Ashdod, Haifa and Eilat ports, after negotiations over pension funds failed to yield results.


Finance Ministry officials accused the unions of attempting to extort salary increases.

יושבי ראש ועדי הנמלים, הערב בבית הדין הארצי לעבודה (צילום: גיל יוחנן) 

Port workers union heads in court (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


The employees are demanding their pension funds to be removed from the Israel Ports Development and Assets Company accounts and be placed in a trust fund. They are also demanding that their pension fund allocations be increased and calculated according to the average basic salary in recent years.


Israel Ports calculates the allocations according to the salary determined in 2005 after the port reform was implemented. The employees claim any salary increase since 2005 is not included in the calculation and that each employee is set to lose up to 20% when they retire.


The negotiations between the port workers and the Treasury began over a year ago, and a labor dispute was announced a month ago.


The Histadrut's main demand is focused on the way the workers' pension funds are managed. The labor federation claims that the funds are in the Israel Ports accounts and are in danger if the company enters any financial difficulties. The employees are demanding that the funds be held in a trust fund until a central pension fund is created similar to the fund set up for Airport Authority employees.


Yair Altman contributed to the report 




פרסום ראשון: 02.26.12, 22:40
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