israel railways 311POLICE AND RESCUE workers survey the scen.
(photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Histadrut labor federation chair Ofer Eini was expected to meet with the CEO of
Israel Railways on Monday evening to determine if Tuesday's
scheduled train strike can be averted. CEO Boaz Zafrir will first meet
with other labor officials, but Eini and Israel Railways chair Uri Yogev
plan to join the meeting once in progress.
The meeting follows
an emergency union meeting Sunday night in which rail workers threatened
to begin striking on Tuesday if no progress in negotiations is made.
Railways on Sunday suspended the chairman of its employee board for
three months with a warning for making threats against company
executives. The authorities suspended six other workers under similar
conditions and fired two others. Employee board chairman Gila Edrei left
the room midway through Sunday's hearing to protest the decision.
has said that train management must reverse all of its recent firings
and suspensions as a precondition to the labor union returning to the
negotiating table over the broader and ongoing labor dispute. If
management does not reverse itself, Eini said that train workers will
move forward with the strike on Tuesday.
Speaking to Army Radio on Monday morning, Edrei called the
suspensions and firings of transportation workers a provocation. "They
took all the rail worker leaders and suspended them. We can't continue
this way. In my opinion, [Transportation] Minister [Yisrael] Katz
initiated this provocation in order to bring the situation to the point
of crisis so that he can create division among the workers," she said.
added that the "committee heads are elected representatives of the rail
workers. If they suspend us, we have a right to strike."
national rail carrier has been embroiled in an ongoing labor dispute
that has led to delays in train arrivals as well as a number of strikes.
This weekend train employees announced they would stop checking
passengers' tickets indefinitely to protest a previous decision by the
company's management to outsource maintenance services to a foreign
On Monday morning, the Histadrut chair also declared
a work dispute, threatening to stage a wider strike for transportation
workers. The move will enable workers to strike within two weeks,
potentially effecting a work stoppage at Ben Gurion Airport, port
authorities, and bus lines Dan and Egged.