High Court upholds port tender suspension

Court of justice rejects petition by the state against two private ports, upholding a National Labor Court decision to temporarily suspend their tenders.

By
August 22, 2013 23:09
1 minute read.
Ashdod Port.

Ashdod port 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The High Court of Justice on Thursday rejected a petition by the state against two private ports, upholding a National Labor Court decision to temporarily suspend their tenders.

Earlier in the month, the court had ruled that the tenders should be suspended while the state negotiated with the Histadrut labor federation, though it denied the union the right to strike until at least September 2, when it would evaluate their progress.

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The High Court said that it would evaluate the situation at that date.

Building private port tenders is part of a government plan to reform the ports by introducing competition, though the labor federation maintains that such reforms will materially harm the port workers.

The state worried that pulling major public tenders would dissuade companies from spending resources on applying for them, ultimately damaging Israel’s economy.

Labor federation lawyer Shai Taken welcomed the decision, saying the state had no justification in trying to upend the labor court, calling the appeal out of place.

“We hope that at this stage the state will respect and act according to the court’s decision and conduct real negotiations in an attempt to solve the differences, as it should have done in the first place,” Taken said.



In a joint statement, the Finance and Transportation ministries said they will continue to promote the establishment of private ports to boost competition, “which will reduce the cost of living and develop Israel’s international trade.”

According to Globes, the National Labor Court criticized the state for acting in “bad faith,” and said that its reform efforts had undermined a draft agreement reached with the Histadrut over the Ashdod Port workers six months earlier. The agreement would have promised to protect the seaport’s financial stability and its workers conditions through reforms.


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