Eini requests PM appoint negotiator over ports

Request comes after National Labor Court ruled Histadrut could not strike until Sept. 1 over gov't plans to reform ports.

Port workers demonstration 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Port workers demonstration 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer Eini sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday asking that he appoint a negotiator to discuss port reforms.
The request comes two days after the National Labor Court ruled that the Histadrut could not strike until September 1 over government plans to reform the ports, and that the two sides should negotiate over the matter through the end of August, when they would report their progress to the court.
Eini said in his letter than he expected the negotiations to be conducted in good faith in order to reach mutual agreements.
In its ruling the labor court also demanded the government freeze the tenders it had issued to privatize the ports, prompting the Finance Ministry to seek intervention from the Supreme Court.
The government tenders, issued at the start of July, were for private companies to run and operate ports in Ashdod and Haifa, where they would compete with the existing heavily unionized ports.
The Histadrut argued that even though the reforms did not reassess existing wage contracts or labor conditions, the introduction of competition would pose a significant financial threat to the ports, which would ultimately affect their employees.
The government argued, among other things, that new infrastructure was necessary to handle increasing trade and changing shipping technology.