An aerial view of a an Israel Railways train..
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A half-day rail strike came to a close Thursday afternoon after members of the
rail workers’ union were released from jail.
The union announced the
strike without prior notice Wednesday night after the arrest of 10 union members
during a demonstration outside the home of Uri Yogev, Israel Railways’ newly
appointed chairman of the board.
Railway workers union leaders released from prison
Court orders rail workers to halt strike, trains to move
The employees suspect Yogev supports
privatizing the national rail carrier, a move they fear will lead to a wave of
A hearing on the legality of the worker strike was
delayed until Monday, the Tel Aviv Labor Court said Thursday. The delay was
aimed at allowing Gila Ederi, chairwoman of the railway workers’ union, to
attend. Ederi was one of the rallying employees detained Wednesday.
Efrat Laskar said Wednesday’s injunction forbidding railway workers to strike
would remain in effect until further notice. Despite the injunction, the
workers’ union prepared for interruptions in service due to the difficulty of
informing employees of the court’s early-morning decision.
had announced the start of an immediate strike that saw all trains in Israel
grind to a halt late Wednesday night.
The rail carrier said all trains in
transit had reached their final destinations, but that no trains had left their
stations following the union’s announcement.
Israel Railways CEO Yitzhak
Harel told Israel Radio on Thursday morning that his firm had no plans to fire
employees, and accused the workers’ union of treating the Israeli public as
Last month, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz warned that
Israel Railways would be closed unless safety standards improved. The ultimatum
came following a spate of accidents in recent months, including a collision
between two trains that injured 60 people in Netanya.
Katz said that
unless a safety plan deemed acceptable to all relevant parties was presented
within four months, train services would be indefinitely halted.