Histadrut threatens to 'shut down south' over ICL layoffs

Knesset Economic and Finance Committees schedule hearings on the issue as several companies go on partial strike and Histadrut threatens to shut down the south, city by city.

Shekel money bills (photo credit: REUTERS)
Shekel money bills
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Histadrut on Monday threatened to “shut down the South” in a growing strike protesting Israel Chemicals’ plan for layoffs at its Bromine Compounds factory.
“We will shut down city by city in the South, every day another city, until the issue is resolved,” said Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkorn at an ICL demonstration Monday, flanked by Dimona Mayor Benny Biton and Arad Mayor Tali Ploskov. “Employment in the South and its rescue is no less important a topic than any on the agenda,” he added.
ICL says the plant is unprofitable, and without reforms, including layoffs, it will no longer be able to guarantee the jobs of hundreds of other workers. The plant lost NIS 1.5 billion in recent years despite massive investments.
Nissenkorn said a company that earned NIS 3b. a year could find ways to keep an employee earning NIS 7,800 a month on the payroll.
The strike has been going on for two weeks and has pulled in politicians and other companies.
The Histadrut has said it will put the Dead Sea Works plant – which is also set to lay off 135 workers – on strike, though the National Labor Court has ordered that negotiations continue.
Both the Knesset Economic and Finance Committees have scheduled hearings.
Knesset Finance Committee Chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky accused ICL of profiting from state resources and benefits while disregarding its workers.
Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should intervene.
“Instead of going to spar with the White House, instead of being photographed eating popcorn in funny clips, I call on Netanyahu to come here and take care of the salaries of 140 workers,” she said.