Train service remains suspended despite injunction

National Labor Court threatens police action after striking rail employees fail to appear for scheduled hearings.

Malcha train station empty 390  (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Malcha train station empty 390
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Tel Aviv District Labor Court is set to convene at 4 p.m. Tuesday to hear Israel Railways' request for a contempt of court injunction against representatives of the railway employees board, after they ignored an injunction to end the strike Tuesday morning.
The move came after the court ordered striking railway workers to return to work by 9 a.m. While the railway employees board stated that they would respect the order, train services did not begin operating normally on Tuesday after the 9 a.m. deadline passed.
The contempt hearing was originally scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday but was delayed after national rail employees board chairman Gila Edray, southern rail employees board chairman Moshe Uliel and his counterpart from the north Shai Tal turned up to the Tel Aviv Labor Court at 1.30 p.m. Tuesday, two and a half hours after Judge Efrat Laxer ordered them to appear.
For hours, it was unclear whether Edray, Uliel and Tal would turn up to the court at all and Judge Laxer threatened to order police to arrest them if they did not present themselves before the court by 1 p.m.
Meanwhile, the court continued the 11 a.m. hearing in their absence, with rail employees board attorney Dr Moran Svorai saying that he "didn't really know where his three colleagues were."
Israel Railways attorney Rubin told the court that the "disgrace continues in full force".
Rubin said that he has copies of a CCTV surveillance tape taken at 9 a.m. Tuesday showing that someone had parked cars blocking the entrance to the train station at Lod.
At 12.15 p.m., after Edray, Uliel and Tal had still failed to arrive, Svorai said the three were "on their way to court" and that they had been in Haifa, so it was unlikely they would make it to Tel Aviv by 1 p.m.
At 1.05 p.m., when it became clear the three had missed the court-imposed deadline, Svorai told the judge that his colleagues were "now at the intersection of Routes 5 and 6." Meanwhile, attorney Rubin said that "dreadful things" were still happening in Lod train station.
"I'm just updating the court about the continuing disgrace," he said, adding that the court should now order the police to arrest the missing three railways employees committee representatives.
Finally, as she arrived at court at 1.30 p.m. Edray said that the employees board "respected the law" and asked passengers to "be patient", Army Radio reported.