IBA employees seek restraining order against management

State Employees' Union wants a restraining order on the management of the Israel Broadcasting Authority to prevent further erosion of employees' salaries.

IBA 224 (photo credit: )
IBA 224
(photo credit: )
The State Employees' Union appealed to the Jerusalem District Labor Court on Tuesday to impose a restraining order on the management of the Israel Broadcasting Authority to prevent further erosion of employees' salaries. The IBA management committee took a unilateral decision in recent weeks to cut the salaries of all workers earning more than NIS 6,000 per month and also eliminated extras such as clothing, health and vacation allowances. There was also a considerable delay in the payment of salaries last month. Ariel Yaacobi, chairman of the State Employees' Union, said that in taking such drastic measures the IBA had crossed all red lines and had deprived workers of their basic rights. Several IBA employees told The Jerusalem Post that as a result of the cuts they were unable to make ends meet. Some veteran IBA employees received take-home pay which was just over of the minimum wage. IBA director-general Moti Sklar, responding to the court action, said that it showed a lack of understanding for the difficult situation the IBA is in. This was not some kind of whim on the part of management intended bring union representatives to heel, said Sklar, but a vital move to guarantee the continued existence of the IBA. The IBA is operating with a deficit of NIS 70 million this year, he said. The lack of fluid assets can be attributed to deferments of payments in previous years and the need to repay a grant received from the Treasury while waiting for agreement on, and implementation of, reforms. Cutbacks introduced by the IBA over the past year include standby payments, overtime and various expenses incurred by employees that used to be repaid. In addition, camera and sound crews have been reduced, with the different language departments within the IBA having only one crew at a time at their disposal. In the past if an event was being covered by the Hebrew, Arabic and English language divisions of Channel One, each reporter had gone out with a camera and sound crew. Now all three reporters go out with the one crew and often lose out on interviews because the prospective interviewee is in a hurry and doesn't want to wait around with one reporter while the crew is busy with another. This will inevitably have a negative impact on the quality of news coverage, say reporters, who claim that management does not know how to sort out the IBA's priorities.