Yishai looks to aid embattled Sderot factory owners

Should the gov't accept Yishai's proposal, the inter-ministerial committee will have 30 days to present its recommendations.

As Kassam rocket attacks continue to target the embattled city of Sderot causing work slow-downs in the local factories, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai on Wednesday introduced a proposal to the government extending the 1967 emergency situation work requirement law. While the '67 bill stipulates that workers in "emergency situations" must remain on the job, it did not provide factory owners with the power to enforce the law. It calls for the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee dedicated to constructing a "defense" plan for factory owners faced with the reality of workers walking off the job out of fear for their lives. Yishai's proposal comes as a result of the Second Lebanon War and the current situation in Sderot, which in addition to severe work slow-downs has resulted in the departure of large numbers of workers. The committee is expected to propose sanctions that factory owners can impose on workers who leave during "emergency" situations, however, it will be applied only to those factories tagged as "essential." The proposal also requires factory owners to put reinforced roofs on their factories. "In times of emergency, the need to protect the local population increases and along with this, we also need to be able to continue to provide basic necessities to our population," Yishai said. "On the one hand, this proposal bolsters the power given to factory owners during times of war or attack, and will provide them with the ability to avoid big losses brought on by work slow-downs, however it will also require the factory owners to construct reinforced buildings for their workers." Should the government accept Yishai's proposal, the inter-ministerial committee will have 30 days to present its recommendations.