Labor Court forbids Histadrut from holding strike in ports

Ruling comes after hundreds of port workers protested gov't plans to build private ports to compete with the current ones.

July 30, 2013 01:38
1 minute read.
Port workers protest gov't plans for new ports outside National Labor Court in J'lem, July 28, 2013.

Port workers demonstration 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

The National Labor Court on Monday night ordered the Histadrut Labor Federation to lay down plans for a strike and allow the nation’s ports to continue working normally. The court also forbade the Histadrut from striking until September 1.

Hundreds of port workers demonstrated outside the National Labor Court earlier in the day as it weighed the legality of a possible Histadrut- led strike.

The Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce petitioned the court to declare any possible strikes protesting port reforms illegal.

Without a ruling otherwise, the Histadrut, which two weeks earlier declared a labor dispute at the ports following government plans to build private ports to compete with the current ones, would have legally been able to do so as of Tuesday.

The Histadrut argued that although new ports would not directly alter wage agreements of worker conditions, extra competition would substantially affect the ports’ finances and lead to lay-offs or worsened working conditions.

According to Globes, sources at the court said it was expected to allow a strike, but the Histadrut was not planning to declare one until later in the week.

Port reforms are one of several economic policies the government has put forth to open up the economy and ease the cost of living. The equivalent of 60 percent of Israel’s GDP is imported and exported through the ports, making their efficiency crucial for the economy.

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