Emilia Negev Cosmetics, which employs 250 workers in Yeruham, today joined the growing list of factories facing an uncertain future. Sources close to the company predicted that the plant would be closed down soon, due to continuing losses stretching over a long period.
In the past few days, the plant's workers were informed of management's intention to negotiate with them before the company's decision to close it down. Negotiations are slated to begin next week, with participation from the workers and the National Labor Federation in the Land of Israel, which represents them.
Sources at Emilia Negev Cosmetics said that the plant in Yeruham was experiencing many difficulties that were causing it continual financial damage, including outdated production infrastructure, which complicated its efforts to compete in the market; a trend towards eliminating customs duties and exposing the economy to imported products; the decision by Sano, an important customer, to expand its independent production; and an increase in water prices in recent years.
The sources added that past efforts at helping the factory recover, while expanding its activity to new markets, had not materially changed the situation.
Two weeks ago, the workers' committee at Emilia Negev Cosmetics and the National Labor Federation declared a labor dispute at the plant in Yeruham, following what it called "footdragging" by management in negotiations for signing a collective agreement arranging the workers' status. Although the workers have the legal right to strike, as of now, activity at the plant is continuing as usual.
Commenting on the crisis at Emilian Negev Cosmetics, the National Labor Federation said, "We were surprised to hear about the owners' plan to close the factory down, which will deal a deadly blow to the dedicated workers who built it. According to our economic figures, there are no economic grounds for closing the factory, and the National Labor Federation is considering measures and its response to the plant owners' unilateral announcement."
Emilia Negev Cosmetics said, "A dialogue with the company's workers is taking place, and as soon as a final decision is made in the matter, it will be communicated to the workers in the framework of the dialogue between the parties."
Uncertainty also exists concerning the future of the Phoenicia plant in Yeruham, which manufactures glass bottles. A haredi (Jewish ultra-Orthodox) boycott of the plant has been declared because of its activity on the Sabbath.
Another plant in Yeruham, Negev Ceramics, owned by the Viola Fund, was shut down 18 months ago, and its 140 workers were laid off.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 2, 2019
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