Strike averted in railway deal

11th-hour agreement has rail carrier grant workers 25% raise, agree to no dismissals until 2030

By OREN KESSLER
March 28, 2012 02:20
1 minute read.
POLICE AND RESCUE workers survey the scene of a tr

israel railways 311POLICE AND RESCUE workers survey the scen. (photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)

 
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The Histadrut labor federation, Israel Railways and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz reached a deal Tuesday to avert a train strike that threatened to grind the country’s entire transportation system to a halt.

The deal came into effect early Tuesday morning, just hours before a planned rail strike that the Histadrut threatened to expand to include Israel’s air, ground and sea transport industries as well.

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As part of the agreement, rail workers will receive a 25 percent salary increase, and the rail carrier agreed not to dismiss any employees until 2030. In addition, more than 100 employees who had previously worked as contract workers will now be directly employed by the company.

The deal calls for two subsidiaries to be set up at Israel Railways – one for its real estate and the other for its cargo business – employing workers under a collective agreement.

The maintenance of some rolling stock will be outsourced, but not transferred to a separate subsidiary.

The 25% raise will be implemented gradually. The deal also stipulates that 140 ticket office workers currently employed by an external company will be brought under the collective agreement. The new benefits that will accrue to Railways employees are valued at more than NIS 100 million annually.

In return, the rail workers’ committee agreed to refrain from calling labor disputes for three and a half years.



As a confidence-building measure, disciplinary measures and dismissals meted out by the Railways disciplinary committee this week will be rescinded, including the suspension of employee chair Gila Edrei.

The labor dispute was first sparked by a recent decision by Railways management to outsource maintenance to Bombardier, the Canadian conglomerate that manufactures the rail cars.

Jerusalem Post staff and Globes contributed to this report.

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