Electric Corporation union agrees to trim compensation

Comes after World Bank report reveals company pays higher wages than any other utility company of its kind in the world.

The Israel Electric Corporation workers union has agreed to a series of compromises on workers’ pay conditions. News of the agreement surfaced on Sunday after a World Bank report commissioned by the IEC revealed that the company pays higher wages than any other utility company of its kind in the world.
Among the compromises agreed to by the union was the cancellation of bonus salaries for workers with 20-year seniority and the cancellation of a clause whereby retiree’s pensions were adjusted to match the salaries of active employees.
The company ordered the report so that the World Bank would determine that their prices were too low, in order to ward off future government-mandated price cuts. The electric company got the statement they were hoping for, as the report said that Israel’s electricity tariffs at the end of 2008 were 20 percent lower than in other countries to which it was compared, and even recommended a price increase of 3-5% over the next four years, but the report also found that IEC employees are paid an average of 38 more than other electricity monopolies which the World Bank used in its comparison: Ireland, Malaysia, Portugal, the Czech Republic, South Korea and Greece.
The IEC is known for its generous wages. Every report that measures wages in the Israeli market consistently ranks the IEC in first place. In 2008, the power company’s wage costs totaled NIS 1.42 billion. Two hundred and fifty Israel Electric workers earned an average of NIS 40,000 a month each.  At the same time, the report found that the IEC’s workforce is similar in size to the workforces at comparable utilities in other countries and that its workers are the most productive of any of the companies surveyed.
The World Bank report found that the IEC’s financial situationmeans the company has been forced to reduce investment in recent yearsto a less than desirable level because of low electricity tariffs, ahigh debt-to-equity ratio and high salary costs. The report concludedthat the IEC will be hard-pressed to finance investment in 2010-13 thatwould help it meet expected electricity demand.
Earlier this month the Public Utilities Authority slashed electricity tariffs by an unprecedented 10-16%.