Histadrut steps in to end two-week bank strike

By SHARON WROBEL
July 15, 2010 10:32

First International Bank of Israel reverted, serious negotiations to be held.

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MK Moshe Gafni

MK Moshe Gafni 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The strike action at First International Bank of Israel was reverted after 12 days after the Histadrut Labor Federation stepped in to end the dispute between employees and the management as soon as possible.

In a meeting on Wednesday morning, FIBI CEO Smadar Barber-Tsadik demanded from Histadrut Labor Federation chairman Ofer Eini to ask the bank’s workers’ committee to put an end to the strike. In return, the bank’s management agreed to hold serious negotiations with the workers’ committee, which will be led by Eini.

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“The workers’ committee agreed to the order and will resume work immediately,” said FIBI in an official statement.

Bank employees at FIBI and its two subsidiaries, Poalei Agudat Israel Bank and Bank Otsar Hahayal, have been on strike for nearly 12 days and prior to that services at the group’s bank branches were disrupted through various work sanctions.

Bank employees will return to work on Thursday and all of the bank branches will stay open in the afternoon and on Friday.

The agreement to get back to work came a day after Knesset Finance Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni urged the bank’s management to enter into serious negotiations with employees in order to put an end to the prolonged strike and stop the damage caused to bank customers.

The main trigger for the strike was the lack of the management’s willingness to conduct negotiations.

More specifically, the workers’ committee claimed that representatives of the management refused to discuss certain issues that were at the center of the dispute, which left no other alternative but to strike.

In recent days, discussions between management and the employees failed to close the gaps between the sides.

The workers want bonuses enlarged and more manpower, to reduce their work load. The workers’ main demands are for larger bonuses for 2009. Bank workers were granted bonuses equivalent to one monthly salary for last year’s profits, but the union is demanding bonuses of at least one and a half to two monthly salaries – similar to those received by employees at Bank Leumi.


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