Hasson suspends role as Ashdod Union head

Alon Hasson, the Chairman of the Ashdod Port Union, suspends himself following report alleging corrupt dealings.

June 16, 2013 20:16
2 minute read.
Ashdod Port.

Ashdod port 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Alon Hasson, the Chairman of the Ashdod Port Union, suspended himself from the position on Sunday following a Channel 2 report alleging his corrupt dealings.

Histadrut Labor Federation Chairman Ofer Eini accepted the decision, saying that the Histadrut would continue to stand with the port workers in expected future negotiations.

He also said it was his intention to make changes in the Histadrut constitution that would make it impossible for a union member to possess private businesses that have business connections to the workplace.

The Channel 2 report on Friday alleged that Hassan has become a wealthy man from directing business from the port with companies in which he has an interest, despite rules blocking such  dealings.

The report cited Benny Dan movers, a small shipping company, and Shahar-Hops, a cleaning supplies company he owns, as examples of companies connected to Hassan that had benefited from lucrative contracts with the Port. His friends and family were also said to have benefited from his position, receiving preference in business dealing with the Port. 

Following the hubbub, the Finance Ministry’s companies authority said that a week earlier it had sent an urgent report to the attorney general to check into Hasson’s private business ties, and said that the port had appointed an external auditor at its request. The Justice Department’s audit committee will take up the issue on Tuesday.

Labor MK Ome Bar-Lev expressed surprise that the criticism and action had been directed solely at Hasson while ignoring the entirety of the Port’s management, its supervisors, the Transportation Ministry and the State Comptroller.

“Those responsible for what is going on are the senior managament at the Port and the Transportation Ministry,” he said. “It’s also a shame that the message to the public is that workers’ unions are corrupt, and need to be privatized.”

Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Economy and Trade Minister Naftalli Bennett have continuously cited reforming the Ashdod Port as one of a central goal in their economic agenda. In July, Transportation Minister Yakov Katz is set to publish two tenders for building a new private port to compete with those in Ashdod and Haifa.

“I decided to end the situation in which militant unions take advantage of the power in their hands and get privileges at the expense of the general public,” Katz wrote in a note on his Facebook page when he made the announcement in May. 

He also set out a series of plans to subvert possible strikes by the Port unions, vowing that they would not have a “veto” on the plans.

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