Israel Railways cancels plans to disrupt train services

Train employees cancel decision to intentionally slow down passenger trains beginning at 10 am; instead they will meet with management.

January 9, 2011 09:50
2 minute read.
Israrail train by Bombardier

Israrail train Bombardier 311. (photo credit: Bombardier)


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Israel Railways employees late Saturday night canceled plans to disrupt train services across the country Sunday, and instead scheduled to meet with management over future outsourcing of train maintenance jobs.

The disruption was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Sunday morning. Workers representatives said that they decided to start the delays late so that soldiers would be able to reach their bases in time.

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Personnel were instructed by the union to intentionally slow passenger train speeds to 70 kilometers per hour. The move would have come at a time when train services are already severely reduced due to track construction works and the temporary decommissioning of a third of the fleet following an onboard fire.

On Saturday, Israel Railways petitioned the Haifa Labor Court for an injunction against the workers’ actions.

In a statement, Israel Railways said: “The management is determined to pass a reform in the maintenance division, in an effort to meet international standards. The timing of the strike, when part of the fleet is decommissioned due to an ongoing investigation of the fire near Yakum, proves that the workers’ representatives are being manipulative and that their sole intention is to pressure the public by harming it. We will do everything to legally prevent this hostile initiative.”

The train workers union announced a labor dispute two months ago after learning that management planned to outsource maintenance work on new coaches purchased last year from Canadian manufacturer Bombardier.

As part of the agreement to purchase 78 double-deck coaches, the first of which are scheduled to arrive in October, Bombardier will construct its own maintenance center employing its own workers, not Israel Railways employees.

On Thursday Israel Railways announced that starting Saturday evening, train service on the Tel Aviv – Beer Sheba – Dimona route and the Tel Aviv- Jerusalem route would be canceled for two weeks to enable construction works on the tracks.

The train company announced that starting Saturday night it would resume service on the Hod Hasharon – Petah Tikva – Tel Aviv line, a service that was canceled due to the decommissioning of all the company’s IC3 model trains following a fire that erupted aboard a train last week.

Return of the coaches to active service awaits the completion of an internal investigation as to the cause of a fire.

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