El Al pilots petition court to nix streamlining agreement

El Al dreamliner / Photo: Yochai Mussi

The pilots claim that the Histadrut was negligent in signing the collective agreement on their behalf.

El Al's pilots have petitioned the Labor Court to cancel the collective agreement signed by the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) on their behalf. The hearing will take place on Sunday.

The Histadrut signed an agreement with El Al's management over the heads of the pilots. The agreement calls for annual savings of $105 million through the layoffs of 71 pilots and retirement of another 50 veteran pilots.

The pilots' main claim is that no negotiations took place involving them directly and that the Histadrut was negligent in failing to carry out in-depth economic analysis of the cutbacks being demanded and of sections of the agreement that, according to the pilots, contain far-reaching concessions. The pilots claim that the Histadrut accepted all the management's demands, and took its side, and was negligent in representing them.

The pilots also claim that presentations they prepared for the decisive session of the negotiations, which they say showed calculation errors in sections of the agreement, were ignored on the grounds that "we have to sign today." A signed agreement was an essential condition for El Al to obtain government aid. El Al had already signed agreements with the three other sectors of its workforce, and the agreement with the pilots was the final one required by the Ministry of Finance.

According to the court petition, the pilots approached the Histadrut with a demand that the agreement should be cancelled. The head of the Transport Workers Union in the Histadrut, Avi Edri, replied that the airline was willing to appoint an accountant as an arbitrator on their claims concerning the agreement. The pilots claim that the airline torpedoed this procedure when it ruled out the name of an accounting firm that they submitted to it. The matter will now be decided in court.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 23, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

El Al dreamliner / Photo: Yochai Mussi
El Al dreamliner / Photo: Yochai Mussi
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