(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.
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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.
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
“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.