Court orders Israel Railways to freeze outsourcing

Injunction issued against workers to stop striking and return to negotiations; Israel Railways says outsourcing was gov't decision.

train 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
train 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Employees must return to negotiations with Israel Railways over plans to buy train cars from Bombardier Transportation and outsource maintenance of those cars to that company, the Tel Aviv Labor Court ruled on Wednesday.
The Histadrut labor federation and the National Council for Israel Railways Workers, which organized the strikes, have argued that the plan to outsource maintenance amounts to privatization, will not benefit Israel Railways financially and will only serve to harm employees.
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However, Israel Railways says the decision was made by the government, that and the company cannot enter into negotiations over government policy with workers.
The two sides were ordered to conduct negotiations between October 2 and 23, and report back to the court regarding their progress.
Judge Nili Arad also ordered workers to report to the court before taking any further industrial action.
Arad said in her ruling that on the eve of Rosh Hashana, both sides should look to the future.
“The company’s management and employees and the Israeli government have a shared interest, and that is [providing] an optimal, efficient and advanced service to the Israeli public,” Arad said. “Given this, it is appropriate that the parties settle their differences peacefully while looking to the future, and to their ongoing relationship and shared construction of Israel's transportation system.