Agreement reached, transportation strike averted

After nearly 1.5 years labor dispute between Israel Railway workers, management, Eini and Railways CEO make headway.

israel railways 311POLICE AND RESCUE workers survey the scen (photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
israel railways 311POLICE AND RESCUE workers survey the scen
(photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Successful negotiations between the head of the Histadrut labor federation and the CEO of Israel Railways averted a nationwide strike of transportation employees Tuesday morning, following intensive discussions that began Monday night.
After nearly a year and a half of a labor dispute between Israel Railway workers and management, Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini and Railways CEO Boaz Zafriri achieved a breakthrough, ensuring that transportation services would run uninterrupted on Tuesday.
As part of the agreement, workers were to receive a wage increase, a one-time payment and Israel railways agreed to not fire employees for a specified period of time. Additionally, over 100 workers that had previously been contractors will be directly employed by Israel Railways.
On Monday, Eini declared a labor dispute and threatened to widen the strike to include workers in other transportation-related fields.
Eini had insisted Railways management reverse all of its recent firings and suspensions as a precondition to the labor union returning to the negotiating table. Otherwise, he said, rail workers would move forward with Tuesday’s strike, and non-rail workers would be eligible to strike in two weeks.
Details of the agreements reached in the negotiations were unclear on Tuesday morning.
Israel Railways has been embroiled in an ongoing labor dispute that has led to train delays as well as a number of strikes. This weekend rail employees announced they would stop checking passengers’ tickets indefinitely, to protest a previous decision by the company’s management to outsource maintenance services to a foreign contractor.
Oren Kessler contributed to this report.