After more than 12 hours of talks, a streamlining agreement with El Al Israel Airlines Ltd.'s (TASE: ELAL) pilots has been reached with the Histadrut. The agreement was signed by Histadrut chairman Arnon Bar-David and the airline's management without a single representative of the pilots present, after they had left the meeting early on due to the huge gaps between the sides.
The agreement calls for 71 pilots to be laid off and a further 50 to retire. El Al has 650 pilots. The pilots claim that they have been 'ambushed' by the Histadrut.
This is the final agreement with employees that El Al is required to present to the Ministry of Finance in order to comply with the government's bailout plan. The agreement with the pilots includes streamlining that will save $105 million. El Al has 650 pilots.
El Al had already signed three streamlining agreements with the workers committees of cabin crew, administrative staff, and maintenance technicians. There will be 1,750 layoffs in these three sectors and the agreement with the pilots also includes layoffs. The agreements reached will be in effect for seven years.
Minister of Transport Miri Regev contacted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Finance Israel Katz last night and asked them to allow El Al to use NIS 200 million from a compensation fund, which would allow the airline to keep operating in the near future. She said that the signing of the streamlining agreement between the Histadrut and pilots association had removed the last obstacle to such a step. Regev stressed that transferring the money was necessary in order to prevent El Al becoming insolvent.
Bar-David said, "El Al is an important strategic asset of the State of Israel and at the start of the crisis, I took the decision that I as the chairman of the Histadrut would do everything to save the company and for its thousands of employees. I made a promise and I have kept my promise. Even at this time, I call upon the pilots sector, who were not present at the signing of the agreement, to show responsibility and to pull together to save El Al. After a protracted and intensive process, we have reached the critical point in the negotiations - to save the company or let it die."
The pilots' response to the agreement, "The only function that the agreement signed this evening has is to obtain the loan from the State. We wish the company and the banks success on this. The real operational agreement will be signed between El Al's pilots and the new owners of the company, and for this agreement we are ready and waiting."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 16, 2020
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020