Postal Company workers agree to distribute child allotments

Workers acquiesce after IPC head asks Eini to intervene.

The Israel Postal Company asked the Tel Aviv Labor Court on Friday morning to order the company's employees to resume their normal workload after more than a month of sanctions. Last week, IPC director-general Avi Hochman called on Histadrut Labor Federation chairman Ofer Eini to intervene in the current work dispute and allow employees to distribute National Insurance Institute allotments to the needy. He also called on the workers' union, headed by Baruch Weizman, and the finance and communications ministers, to sit down immediately to solve the dispute. However, the only progress since then is that postal workers have acceded to Eini's request to distribute child allotments to the needy. Because there has been no movement by the government in meeting the workers' demands for a "safety net" that would keep the company afloat without having to dismiss staffers, Hochman decided to turn to the labor court. The sanctions, he said, were harming the company's income and hurting customers, most of whom live in the periphery. Remaining sanctions include the cessation of mail delivery to government ministries and ministers, MKs and diplomats, as well as not processing payments for visas to the US, no mobile postal service except to Sderot and other Gaza-border settlements, no transfer of vehicle ownership and no switching of membership among health funds at postal branches. The sanctions have resulted from an impasse between the Communications Ministry, which refuses to lower bulk mail rates so the government-owned company could offer competition to private entrepreneurs and make money from such mail distribution, and the postal company union, which insists on this step as it fears hundreds of employees will be dismissed as the postal company continues to lose money. The Communications Ministry and the Treasury prefer efficiency measures for the company rather than lowering rates, while the IPC demands the "promised security net" for the company until it stabilizes financially. During the first quarter of this year, the company lost over NIS 10 million, and according to Hochman, the losses continued in the second quarter.