Labor Court orders pilots to end work action against El Al

Judge castigates both sides for indifference to customers.

AN EL AL Boeing 777 aircraft is seen at Ben-Gurion Airport (photo credit: REUTERS)
AN EL AL Boeing 777 aircraft is seen at Ben-Gurion Airport
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Tel Aviv Regional Labor Court on Tuesday ordered El Al pilots to end their work action over a dispute with the company’s management over pay for pilots between the ages of 65 and 67, which has led to the cancellation of around a dozen flights in recent days.
The judges said that both the pilots and management had chosen to behave over-aggressively, with a high degree of indifference to the major damage their actions had caused the public. The pilots were reprimanded for using absence from work to achieve their collective aims.
Judge Ofira Dagan-Tuchmacher also asked El Al’s management to produce by February 9 a detailed table of flights canceled due to the work action, as well as a list of calls made to pilots that El Al says refused to conduct flights.
A follow-up hearing is scheduled for February 22.
According to Hebrew media reports, the two central disputes are a proposed reduction in pensions and a reduction in monthly salaries for pilots over 65 from NIS 45,000 to NIS 33,000-37,000.
El Al’s justification for the cut is that pilots over the age of 65 cannot fly planes full time and must perform training and other less valuable services instead.
The pilots contend that even the NIS 45,000 monthly salary is less than that of full-time active pilots, and far less than pilots in other countries. They also accuse management of canceling flights without prior notice to pilots, causing them further undue stress.
Pilots were pessimistic that the ruling would resolve the issues, as management has taken a hard line throughout negotiations.
The Labor Court hearing was held after negotiations between El Al management and the pilots reached a deadlock in December, despite mediation by Histadrut labor federation chairman Avi Nissenkorn.
Globes contributed to this report.