Sonol workers shut down gas stations

Station attendants go on strike after not receiving bonuses.

gas station strike 311 (photo credit: Rami Zringer)
gas station strike 311
(photo credit: Rami Zringer)
Sonol gas-station attendants throughout the country went on strike Wednesday morning in protest over management’s alleged failure to pay a bonus for 2009.
Cars were prevented from filling up in 160 out of the 200 Sonol gas stations across the country, and the So Good convenience stores at the Sonol gas stations were also closed.
The gas-station attendants agreed to switch to work sanctions at 2 p.m. and allowed customers to buy gas.
However, the Sonol workers refused to receive gas deliveries or products from suppliers of the So Good convenience stores throughout the day.
The strike was initiated following management’s decision to pay all Sonol workers a bonus for 2009, except for the 1,600 gas-station attendants.
Since the unionization of Sonol employees about a year ago, the Histadrut Labor Federation has repeatedly accused Sonol’s management of infringing the workers’ freedom to unionize and set up a workers committee, although a collective bargaining agreement was signed a few months ago.
In January, the workers demonstrated against management for not allowing them to form a union.
“It is interesting that the CEO ‘forgot’ the unionized employees when all other workers received a bonus for 2009,” Shimon Sheetrit, chairman of the Sonol workers committee, said Wednesday. “The CEO and the chairman of the company received bonuses worth millions of shekels. These bonuses alone could meet the demands of the 1,600 gas-station attendants and a few million shekels would be left over.”
“Managers in the company tell the workers that they didn’t get a bonus because of the workers committee,” he said. “This is clearly an attempt to break up the unionizing effort.”
Sonol, controlled by the Azrieli Group, has filed a petition at the Haifa District Labor Court for an injunction against the strike. The court has scheduled a hearing for Thursday.
“The work sanctions are not legal because the workers committee has signed a collective agreement stipulating that employees need to...
refrain from strike actions for a period of five years,” Sonol’s management said in a statement. “The workers committee has made outrageous requests regarding expenses, bonuses and company cars for gas-station managers. Salaries of Sonol workers have been raised over the past year.
The workers committee’s action is a provocation.