Port workers demonstration 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer Eini sent a letter to Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday asking that he appoint a negotiator to discuss
The request comes two days after the National Labor Court
ruled that the Histadrut could not strike until September 1 over government
plans to reform the ports, and that the two sides should negotiate over the
matter through the end of August, when they would report their progress to the
Eini said in his letter than he expected the negotiations to be
conducted in good faith in order to reach mutual agreements.
ruling the labor court also demanded the government freeze the tenders it had
issued to privatize the ports, prompting the Finance Ministry to seek
intervention from the Supreme Court.
The government tenders, issued at
the start of July, were for private companies to run and operate ports in Ashdod
and Haifa, where they would compete with the existing heavily unionized
The Histadrut argued that even though the reforms did not reassess
existing wage contracts or labor conditions, the introduction of competition
would pose a significant financial threat to the ports, which would ultimately
affect their employees.
The government argued, among other things, that
new infrastructure was necessary to handle increasing trade and changing