El Al workers seek to declare labor dispute

A large majority of El Al workers have voted to begin a formal labor dispute with the company's management.

By NATHAN BURSTEIN
June 4, 2007 07:12

A large majority of El Al workers have voted to begin a formal labor dispute with the company's management. Although votes are still being cast, 80 percent of ballots counted so far support a formal labor dispute with the airline's management, which is seeking to cancel the workers' collective employment agreement with the carrier as a cost-cutting measure. The results of the voting have been submitted to the Histadrut labor federation, which will review the workers' claims and decide whether they are sufficient to declare a labor dispute. An answer from the Histadrut is expected by the end of the week, according to Yossi Levy, a spokesperson for the workers union. If the Histadrut approves the call for a labor dispute, El Al and its employees will enter a two-week "cooling off" and negotiation period before workers can take action against the airline. Voting on the workers' referendum will continue through the end of this week so that all El Al workers, including those currently overseas, can vote on the issue. Nearly all pilots, ground crew members and engineers have already voted, and the union is awaiting the receipt of ballots from flight crews and other airline employees working outside Israel.


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