Ports strike ends after one hour

Treasury says it only heard about demands night before.

haifa port 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
haifa port 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
An unscheduled strike called at Israel’s three seaports Thursday morning ended just one hour after it began, following the intervention of Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer Eini.
The strike at the Haifa, Ashdod and Eilat ports was called over a delay in the signing of a January wage agreement and because of a dispute with the Finance Ministry over port retirees’ pensions, a Histadrut spokesperson said.
An agreement had been reached for the port workers to receive an advance on their wages, and talks would continue over the pensions dispute, the Histadrut said in a press statement after the strike ended.
Port workers were to receive a pay rise of 3 percent for each of the next two years under the agreement reached between the Finance Ministry and the Histadrut in January.
The Histadrut disputes the linkage of port retirees’ pensions to the consumer price index beginning in 2011, demanding that the Finance Ministry instead link the pensions to the CPI retroactively from 2008, as has been the case for all civil-service pensions.
Port workers’ representatives only raised their demands over the pensions for the first time at a meeting on Wednesday night, the Finance Ministry said in a statement issued during the brief strike. Calling the strike “irresponsible and unjustified,” the ministry said the representatives had denied a request to allow it a few days to examine the matter.