This morning's meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Histradrut chairman Ofer Eini ended without agreement.
The Histradrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) has officially declared a labor dispute at Israel's seaports, after this morning's meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Histradrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) chairman Ofer Eini ended without result. Netanyahu refused to freeze the tenders for construction of new ports at Ashdod and Haifa. The declaration means that the port workers will be able to strike after 14 days.
The Histadrut made clear to Netanyahu last week that only freezing the tenders would create conditions for negotiations and prevent a labor dispute, but Netanyahu sought this morning's meeting with Eini in any case, in a further attempt to prevent the declaration. However, at this meeting too Netanyahu maintained his position that the tenders should proceed, and that talks should be held with the Histadrut in parallel. It is not inconceivable that Netanyahu did not really seek to avoid the labor dispute, but rather wanted to show the public that he is determined to embark on far-reaching reform at the ports, despite the strike threats.
Progress was reportedly made at the meeting on other matters, among them the government's intentions of passing legislation outlawing strikes in essential services and of introducing reforms in the civil service, and so there will be no declaration of a labor dispute in the public sector as a whole, but only in the ports.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 15, 2013
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