tnuva logo 88.
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Workers at Tnuva's Jerusalem facility closed the building down and brought all deliveries within the city to a halt Sunday following a breakdown of talks with the dairy company.
"We still haven't received Tnuva goods," said the dairy section manager of a Jerusalem supermarket Sunday afternoon. "We were supposed to get a delivery today, but have not yet. There is a chance we'll get it tomorrow - they're trying to bring trucks up from [another Tnuva facility in] Kiryat Malachi. I hope they succeed," he said.
To head off a shortage of dairy goods, his supermarket had ordered "reinforcements" from competing producers Tara and Strauss-Elite, he said.
"[Tnuva] management took back its word" during the talks, said Jerusalem-area Histadrut Chairman Daniel Ben-Sheetrit in explanation of the strike. Tnuva, he said, had agreed to establish a smaller distribution center in Jerusalem, on the condition that the workers provide a NIS 5 million investment, but then decided that the amount would not suffice, leading the workers to strike, he said.
The workers oppose Tnuva management's decision to move Jerusalem-based operations to Kiryat Malachi, arguing that this would lead to the loss of jobs of the vast majority of the plant's 160 Jerusalemite employees.
"Jerusalemites won't travel to work in Kiryat Malachi. They may in the beginning, but then they'll despair [of the commute]," said Ben-Shitrit. "Until there is a solution for the workers, the strike will go on ... When the management is ready to accept our position [to build a small distribution facility in Jerusalem], we'll talk with them," he said.
Tnuva responded that more than 95% of the Jerusalem facility's workers would be assured employment at the Kiryat Malachi site, adding that the company wanted to negotiate with the workers toward an agreed solution for the remaining 5% who would be laid-off. They did not say whether Jerusalemite workers who quit because of the move would receive compensation, as well.
"The workers committee is opposed to moving the branch and is not ready to conduct any negotiations on the matter, and instead of [pursuing] dialogue, [the committee] decided to close down the branch and disrupt the supply of milk and dairy products to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the environs," Tnuva charged.
Tnuva said it would supply dairy products to Jerusalemites through "alternative" routes, so there would be no "disruptions."
The dairy in Jerusalem and its distribution center are set to be moved to a new logistic center in Kiryat Malachi in early 2007, which the company said was "one of the most advanced in the world.
Closing the Jerusalem facility is one of a series of efficiency measures planned for Tnuva's distribution system, the company said, noting that the Netanya and Petah Tikva branches were merged without one job lost.
Tnuva said it was closing the dairy because of its location "within a densely populated residential area," but Ben-Shitrit called it "just another real estate deal."
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