Manufacturers Association accuses Ashdod port workers of illegal strike

After giving police the slip, stevedores feign returning to work to avoid hefty court fine.

Port of Ashdod (photo credit: REUTERS)
Port of Ashdod
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Port workers at Israel's two largest ports are effectively striking, the Manufacturers Association of Israel charged on Monday.
Workers at the Ashdod and Haifa ports reported to work but are not doing their duties the association claimed, threatening
to personally sue those leading the strike.
"Let us remind [here] that we will not tolerate a situation in which the ports are not working or half not working," it stated. 
"Our patience is running out and we will not hesitate to use all the means we have, including a personal lawsuit," it declared. "The ports must be brought back to regular operations mode."
Strike leaders refused to show up in Labor Court last week for sessions dealing with the strike and were able to dodge the police after they were subpoenaed, as a result, they were fined eighty thousand NIS on May 11 for contempt of court.
On the evening of May 12 the court assured the strike leaders that the fine will be null and void should they formally return to work.
Technically they have.
Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) chairman Avi Nissenkorn said during the hearing, "I wish to say to the colleagues here, that the rule of law is above everything. Even when you think negotiations are not being conducted in good faith, even when you think its s necessary to create a crisis, there is one basic thing, which is that the rule of law comes before everything else. The Histadrut will not back down on this."
The strike at the ports is over the new, privately-run ports being constructed at Haifa and Ashdod.