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Ashdod port workers' strike cost farmers 5.2 million euros
By NIV ELIS
09/04/2014
25 containers of produce from the Negev miss their shipments; strikers protest new anti-nepotism rule.
 
The Ashdod Port union’s decision to embark on an impromptu strike on Sunday cost farmers in the Negev €5.2 million, as 325 containers worth of produce missed their shipments.

The union stop working without notice to express anger over a new anti-nepotism rule forbidding the hiring of union members’ friends and family. On Monday, the National Labor Court ordered the union to return to work According to Nuki Neufeld, who heads Israel’s largest root vegetable exporter, the strike created chaos ahead of the important Easter season.

Some ships left with half-full containers, while others proceeded to the Haifa Port in hopes of picking up cargo there.

Neufeld implored the port workers to behave more responsibly. Many Negev farmers live in a dangerous region near the Gaza Strip, he said, and suffer enough damages without the port inflicting further wounds on their businesses.

Ashdod Port director Itzik Bloomenthal estimated that the strike would cost NIS 2m.

to NIS 3m. a day.

The strike was only the latest unpopular move by Ashdod Port union head Alon Hassan.

In June, he was forced to briefly step down over a corruption scandal over allegedly using his influence to profit from port contracts with companies in which he held a stake.

Hassan recently lashed out against a detractor on Facebook with an anti-gay slur, bringing wave of rebuke from across from the political spectrum, but none from the Histadrut labor federation.
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