Negev Ceramics to lay off 130 employees

Factory owners use private security guards to keep workers out as Negev Ceramics closes.

By
October 14, 2017 17:30
2 minute read.
Security guards prevent employees from entering the Negev Ceramics plant.

Security guards prevent employees from entering the Negev Ceramics plant. From the Facebook page of Hanna Brig. (photo credit: FACEBOOK)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Workers heading for their shifts at the Negev Ceramics Ltd. factory in Yeroham on Friday were locked out by security guards and received a typed letter that the plant would be shutting down and some 130 workers laid off.

“We tried every way to save the plant, but unfortunately, we did not receive the necessary cooperation from the Histadrut and the workers’ committee and, therefore, our hope was lost,” CEO Uri Gilboa wrote in a letter to employees posted on Facebook.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


“We have a real desire to continue production at the plant but, on the other hand, it generates losses of NIS 2 million ($570,000) a month that could pull the entire company into a dangerous situation.”

According to Gilboa, the company has been forced into an uncompetitive position by a dramatically changing global ceramics market. “The cost of imports [to Israel] is continuously declining,” he said, specifying that Negev Ceramics produces porcelain tiles at a cost of NIS 40 per meter, while imported tiles – mostly from China, Turkey and Spain – sell for NIS 26 per meter.

“Contractors are looking to buy porcelain tiles at a cheaper cost than production in [our] factory,” he said.

Yeroham Mayor Michael Biton rushed to meet with the locked-out workers and management in an attempt to forestall layoffs, while the Histadrut labor federation petitioned the Beersheba Labor Court for an emergency injunction against the firings.

MK Eli Alalouf (Kulanu) called for an emergency parliamentary panel, which will convene on Tuesday, to discuss the layoffs.



An Economy Ministry representative told The Jerusalem Post this was an internal work dispute but that if both parties ask the ministry to intervene or arbitrate it will do so.

Negev, according to The- Marker, employs 700 people at 10 store branches and offices across the country with 85% of its sales coming from imported products.

The company was bought by private-equity fund Viola Credit for NIS 320m. in April after losing some NIS 500m.

in recent years. Much of the losses stemmed from operations at the Yeroham plant, the country’s only manufacturing facility.

Long-time employees bemoaned the move, which will leave dozens of families without breadwinners in both Yeroham and neighboring Dimona.

A local resident took to social media to condemn the news.

“Is there a responsible adult in the surrounding area?” asked Hanni Briga. “The employees of Negev Ceramics came to work this morning and met a group of thugs wearing black who prevented them from entering the factory.”

Related Content

August 21, 2018
Report: Netanyahu allegedly tried to oust police chief

By TOVAH LAZAROFF