Port workers return to jobs after one-day strike

National Labor Court president orders Histadrut, Treasury, ports to conduct two weeks of talks under her supervision.

Haifa port 521 (photo credit: LIAT COLLINS)
Haifa port 521
(photo credit: LIAT COLLINS)
Workers at the Haifa, Ashdod and Eilat ports held a one-day strike over pension-related demands Sunday, but will be back at work Monday after a truce was reached at a late-night National Labor Court meeting.
The strike began following the breakdown of negotiations between port worker representatives, the Histadrut labor federation and the Treasury.
The workers were demanding that their pension funds be secured by moving them out of accounts managed by the port companies and into trust accounts.
Court President Nili Arad convened representatives from the Histadrut, the Treasury, the Manufacturers Association and the Haifa Ports Company at her chambers late Sunday night, after the latter two filed urgent requests for injunctions to halt the strikes. At the end of the meeting she ordered the sides to conduct two weeks of negotiations under her supervision.
The Treasury committed to not using workers’ pension funds for any alternative purpose.
Earlier, Histadrut transportation division chairman Avi Edri summed up the workers’ demands, saying in a statement to the press: “Pension funds are likely to be at real risk if, heaven forbid, the port companies encounter financial difficulties. Any creditor could approach management, put their hands on the accounts, and the workers would end up paying the price.”
The Manufacturers Association and the Haifa Port Company told the court in their written submissions earlier in the day that the call to strike was illegal, and asked it to order workers to return to their duties immediately. The two organizations also requested that the court order the state to commence “intensive and urgent negotiations to find a solution to the crisis” and asked the court to organize mediation between the parties after it issued injunctions.