Court orders end of mail sanctions for Postal Company

Postal company calls the ruling a "great victory" for itself and its director-general Avi Hochman.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
All sanctions that have disrupted mail services for weeks will be halted on Monday morning by order of the Tel Aviv Labor Court, which also instructed the government to provide a NIS 36 million "security net" to the Israel Postal Company to eliminate the need to dismiss workers due to loss of income. The postal company called the ruling a "great victory" for itself and its director-general Avi Hochman, who set out in icy waters by going to court even though the 4,500-member staff had only applied sanctions and not gone out on strike. Labor Court head Judge Ahuva Etzion ruled on the postal company's request to order the company's employees to resume normal work after a stormy session of conflicting demands by the postal company, the Histadrut Labor Federation and postal union versus the State Attorney's Office. The sanctions included the cessation of mail delivery to government ministries and ministers, MKs and diplomats, as well as payments for visas to the US, no mobile postal service except to Sderot and other Gaza-periphery settlements, no transfer of vehicle ownership and no switching of membership among health funds at postal branches. Through the end of last week, no National Insurance Institute child allotments were distributed. The government conceded in court that the finance and communications ministers had in November 2007 committed themselves in writing to provide the safety net, which was supposed to go into effect on January 1 of this year. But a representative of the government did not agree to this date, despite Etzion's continual requests. The IPC insisted that the state meet its commitments without being dependent on other authorities. Etzion sent the two sides to go into immediate discussions for agreement on the date from which the safety net will be implemented. It was finally decided that the government's commitment to prevent the company from collapsing would be put into effect on August 1, with a possibility of a 30-day extension if necessary, so it will be implemented no later than September 1. The safety net will allow the company to charge for some services that, until now, it has provided for free. Although a list of these services has not yet been determined, it will probably including charging for-profit companies Postal Bank fees. "We are in a deficit because it is difficult to compete and make profits for a few years as our formerly monopolistic services have been exposed to competition. It will take a few years until we can stabilize ourselves and make a profit so we no longer need a safety net," said postal company spokeswoman Merav Lapidot. However, the company will not levy fees on individual customers of the Postal Bank.