(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce on Sunday petitioned the National Labor Court to issue an injunction on solidarity strikes in support of Israel Postal Company workers.
In recent weeks, the Histadrut labor federation has ratcheted up pressure on the postal company by halting activities at services around the country. Workers at Ben-Gurion Airport, for example, shut down operations for three hours in solidarity lat week, while services such as tax collection, fine processing, and vehicle title transfers have also been put on hold.
On Monday, such strikes are intended to halt passage of cargo through Israel’s eastern and southern borders and close in-person public inquiries to the courts.
The FICC sought to limit strikes outside the Post Office itself to one-time, one-hour service closures for each service.
“The Histadrut’s solidarity strikes has gone beyond all proportions and has slid beyond reasonable criteria,” said FICC president Uriel Lynn, adding the union was making improper use of its power.
At stake is the fate of 1,500 workers who are slated to be laid off from the Postal Company, part of an effort to pull the chronic money-loser out of the red and expand its services.
The Histadrut says the company will replace workers who have been employed for years with contract workers in an attempt to avoid paying greater benefits.
Negotiations over the government- owned company have broken down repeatedly, and the Histadrut has threatened a general strike, which would shutter all government offices, including schools, ports and trash collection.
The labor court has intervened to stop strikes in essential services such as ports in the past, but has often allowed general strikes to move forward.