20 Jerusalem light rail drivers quit over pay

Over half of drivers due to resign December first in latest setback for Jerusalem train system.

light rail (photo credit: marc israel sellem)
light rail
(photo credit: marc israel sellem)
The beleaguered Jerusalem light rail suffered a new blow on Sunday when 20 of the 35 train drivers signed letters of resignation, due to take effect December 1.
The drivers went on strike last month to protest salaries they claimed were lower than originally promised, as well as general terms of employment that were not what they were led to expect. According to the drivers’ committee, their average salary is NIS 5,000, which they say is NIS 1,000 less than Egged bus drivers.
The municipality filed an appeal with the Jerusalem Local Labor Court to force the workers back to work, which was granted, and the strike ended after two days. The court instructed the drivers and the light rail operator Connex Israel to return to negotiations.
Sunday’s mass resignation of drivers comes following the failure of the two sides to reach an agreement. Representatives of the drivers’ committee said Sunday that having been forced to return to work by the court in October, they reentered into negotiations with Connex, but decided to resign after it became clear to them “Connex was not interested in coming to an agreement.” A spokesman for Connex told The Jerusalem Post they had not yet seen the letters of resignation, and further, he found it strange that a number of drivers would suddenly resign while advanced and promising negotiations were taking place with the Histadrut labor federation.
In a statement, Connex said “The operating company of the Jerusalem light rail is on the eve of the signing a collective agreement with the Histadrut.
The company management hopes that those involved will not be adversely affected in the negotiations [in light of their purported resignation], which will make light rail employees the best remunerated workers within the public transport system in Israel, for both wages and general terms of employment.”