The Israel Railways workers committee yesterday quit the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) and joined Koach La Ovdim Democratic Workers’ Organization, which will now represent Israel Railways' 2,000 employees.
The move was made despite the criticism leveled against the Israel Railways workers committee at a Haifa District Labor Court hearing yesterday for demanding that the Histadrut rescind its ouster of the workers committee chairwoman Gila Edri, while simultaneously initiating a switch to a rival union. The Israel Railways workers committee's defection is an organizational and morale blow to the Histadrut, but it is a leap into the unknown by the railway workers. The big, and possibly only winners, are the Israel Railways workers committee's members and Koach La Ovdim, which has, for the first time, secured one of Israel's strongest and most important unions in the country.
The Israel Railways workers committee also announced that the ousted committee members and Edri had cancelled their membership in the Histadrut and joined Koach La Ovdim. For its part, Koach La Ovdim announced that Edri and the elected Israel Railways workers committee members would continue to serve on the committee for all intents and purposes.
The Israel Railways workers committee said, "The first objective is to sign a collective contract for which we have fought for months. We are committed to the workers and we'll continue to protect their rights."
The Histadrut said in response, "This is a trial media balloon. The Histadrut is the representative union of the Israel Railways workers. It turns out that the ousted workers committee members simply deceived the court, when on the day of the hearing, they denied any contact with Koach La Ovdim, but immediately after leaving the courtroom announced that they were joining it. It's not enough that the workers committee members are violating court orders, they are also deceiving it. We regret that Koach La Ovdim is cooperating with people who refuse to accept court orders."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 4, 2012
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