Railway employees ask labor court to allow strike

Israel Railways signs agreement to outsource maintenance of train cars; labor court to discuss strike request.

train 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
train 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The railway employees board and the Histadrut Labor Federation on Sunday night asked the National Labor Court to allow them to begin a strike immediately over Israel Railways's decision to outsource maintenance services to a foreign company.

Earlier on Sunday, Israel Railways signed an agreement with Canadian company Bombardier Transportation to provide maintenance for 130 train cars.

Last week, train workers began a strike over the issue, but the National Labor Court issued an injunction against the action.

Following the signing of the deal on Sunday, the railway employees board stated that Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz had "declared war not only on railway workers, but against all organized labor." The board called on the National Labor Court to cancel the maintenance agreement with Bombardier.

"We will continue the struggle against the introduction of contract workers with all available means," the Histadrut said in a statement Monday morning. "We will not be deterred by the attempt force the workers' hand with heavy-handed [tactics]."

Katz said in an interview with Channel One on Sunday that the number of train cars operating in the country would soon be doubled, and therefore outsourcing maintenance work was unavoidable. He vowed not to fire a single railway worker in the next twenty years and to raise the train employees' salaries by 20 percent.

The National Labor Court was scheduled to discuss the railway employees' request to strike on Sunday morning.