For the second day in a row, a chunk of Israel Railways workers called in sick
for work on Thursday, forcing the company to shut down a large number of lines
during peak travel times.
After 41 of the company’s 215 drivers took off
of work due to supposed illness on Wednesday, 40 did the same on Thursday, a
spokesman for the company said.
However, the management reportedly saw
several of the workers playing football on Wednesday. Assuming that the drivers
had decided to take vacation collectively following new work arrangements on the
train, the management issued letters to the employees urging them to return to
work that day.
“The company management is working to minimize the harm to
passengers [stemming from the workers’ absence] and has accordingly canceled
training, education programs and vacations [for the remaining drivers] in order
to reduce the impact upon the company’s customers,” a statement from Israel
To this effect, the management acquired a court order on
Thursday requiring the drivers to return to work immediately. In the court
decision, the judge said it was clear that the company was not facing individual
personnel issues, but most likely organized, collective activity to protest work
arrangements, an Israel Railways spokesman explained.
For all those
convinced that they could not yet return to work due to the supposed illness,
the spokesman added, a doctor would be available to evaluate their conditions at
the railway management complex from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday. The workers
are required to act in accordance with the doctor’s orders, the company
Nonetheless, the company decided to cancel a number of train
lines particularly during peak afternoon hours on Thursday due to the absence of
such a large segment of the driver pool.
From 3 p.m. onward, the suburban
train lines between Acre and Kiryat Motzkin – a total of 16 trains – were
completely canceled, and service to these stations was available instead on the
inter-urban railway lines from Nahariya to Modi’in and Beersheba, which made
extra stops, Israel Railways said.
The 3:09 p.m Beit Shemesh-Tel Aviv
line concluded its journey at Lod, where passengers were told to transfer to
other trains passing through that station, while the train from Tel Aviv to
Jerusalem at 4:53 p.m. simply began at Lod instead of Tel Aviv, Israel Railways
However, the extra train lines operating at night following the
Kaveret concert in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park will continue to run as planned, the
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