Workers at the Ashdod Port declared a strike Wednesday to protest aspects of its workers' agreement, ignoring an agreement not to strike for five years as part of the reforms instituted at the country's ports. In response to the breaking of the pledge, the Ashdod Port Company board said it would meet with urgency to discuss canceling all grants and bonuses promised to the workers in the framework of the reform agreement. "The workers union is opposed to the application of a number of chapters in the workers' agreement, which they signed a number of years ago," the Ashdod Port Company said, singling out their objections to the use of electronic swipe cards, which it said has become standard use in government and public organizations. The port's management said it was taken by surprise by the strike since it reached an oral agreement with the Histadrut Labor Union last Thursday to end the work dispute between the parties over the last three weeks. "The discussions had continued from Thursday every day until late [Tuesday] night," the Port's management said. "The Histadrut did not honor its agreement." The electronic swipe cards were one of the measures instituted to make the port more efficient as part of the government's long-term program to privatize Israel's ports as it seeks to open the market to competition. The workers have opposed the reforms as they believe they ultimately will lead to massive layoffs. The Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce estimated the business community lost NIS 50 million in the first day of the strike and accused the workers of using the strike as a political means of weakening the management to bring the port to the same situation it was in before the reforms.