Sir, – I have just read “Strike averted as Railways, Histadrut,
Transportation Ministry reach deal” (March 28). To say I was appalled would be
The ministry would appear to have given in to total
blackmail. A 25 percent pay rise, not being able to dismiss staff until 2030 and
partial outsourcing of maintenance seems to indicate that management has no
control over the company whatsoever.
We seem to have the same problem at
the Israel Electric Corporation.
Perhaps our government should apply the
wisdom of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Reagan, when faced with a major
problem over air traffic control, sacked all the workers and put in place his
own non-union personnel. Thatcher solved the union problem by first stocking up
fuel reserves at power stations so that they would be able to operate for at
least 12 months; eventually, coal miners were forced to concede.
government could replace all union workers by non-union people to run the
railways and power stations. I am sure there are enough qualified
The other possibility is that we, the suffering general public,
should hold a general strike of our own (never mind just cottage cheese). All we
have to do is stock up on enough provisions and not pay for utilities until we
get what we want. I believe we would be able to drive a hard bargain with those
who are making excessive demands on our pockets, including the various
Jerusalem IEC not to blame
Sir, – Regarding “Lights out
at the Israel Electric Corporation” (Comment & Features, March 27), the IEC
is owned solely by the government. It should have invested funds to meet heavy
outlays on equipment needed to meet the ever-growing demand for electricity, or
it should have sold shares.
Instead, the IEC was set upon to take the
loans itself; this is the reason for its heavy debt and downgrading by financial
institutions. More than 13 percent of the cost of electricity is for
servicing these loans.
Because natural gas is not available, some
generating units are forced to operate on #2 fuel. This fuel is not as efficient
and is much more expensive. Absurdly, the high price is because the
Treasury has a weighty tax on it. This is, in effect, double-dipping because the
Treasury receives 16% VAT on electricity prices.
It must be realized that
fuel usually represents 55% of the cost of producing electricity; in the present
situation it is no doubt higher.
In the 1970s there was the popular idea
that electric utilities could be broken down into many units that would compete
and thus reduce costs. This was a failure and in most cases raised
IEC employees involved in generation, transmission and
distribution are on duty day and night. The cost of their employment is some 10%
of the cost of production. The average monthly IEC salary was once estimated at
NIS 15,000; the very few who receive NIS 50,000 run investments worth many
billions of dollars. This is not the factor that explains why there is an
increase in electricity bills.RAPHAEL BEN-YOSEF
worked closely with the IEC for more than 45 years as a representative of major
In “Senior Jewish Agency official
resigns” (News in Brief, March 29), JAFI spokesman Haviv Rettig Gur said that
departing CFO Yaron Neudorfer had “faced” problems during his tenure and dealt
with them admirably, and not that Neudorfer had “caused” these problems, as the
reporter mistakenly wrote.APOLOGY The Jerusalem Post
apologizes for any
alterations made to Shai Danot’s “Social justice and electricity” (Comment &
Features, March 27) that inadvertently changed the writer’s intended meaning.