Histadrut protest [File].
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Histadrut labor federation on Wednesday evening canceled plans to put the country’s south under a general strike, after Israel Chemicals Ltd. agreed to freeze letters of dismissal for 140 workers.
The union had prepared a strike that would affect government offices, private business, ports and some public transport days ahead of the general election in protest of expected layoffs.
On Wednesday, following a Histadrut protest outside the Prime Minister’s Residence, the sides met for extended discussions at the National Labor Court headed by its president Judge Yigal Plitman. There, they agreed to enter a two-week negotiations period headed by Plitman, and freeze the letters of dismissal, including canceling the ones that went into effect earlier in the week.
“As the Histadrut demanded at the start of the crisis, the letters of dismissal were frozen without precondition. We are returning to the negotiating table,” Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkorn said.
“The fight for the South will continue until a suitable solution is found for the employment problems in a large part of the country,” he added.
The layoffs are part of an efficiency plan that also will see other workers laid off. Israel Chemicals argued that it offered departing workers generous severance packages and early retirement plans to leave the unprofitable Bromine Compounds plant.
The Histadrut began strikes at ICL plants nearly three weeks ago, and has shut down various southern cities and blocked traffic during its subsequent demonstrations, including those in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.