Gadot Biochemical Industries Ltd., a subsidiary of Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) controlled by Yitzhak Tshuva, plans to lay off a half of its employees due to losses of millions of shekels. The Haifa Bay-based plant produces extracts and raw materials for the food industry and employs about 110 workers. Following losses of millions of shekels during 2016, CEO Esther Eldan informed the workers' committee that she will fire 52 employees in the near future.
The plan to fire dozens of Gadot employees is part of an overall rehabilitation plan Eldan is currently trying to promote, which includes the termination of some production activity and the import of raw materials currently produced there from Turkey. "Two years ago, we were also threatened with layoffs," the chairman of Gadot Biochemical Industries workers' committee, Ilan Bernstein told "Globes" yesterday. "Then, the company shut down one of its production lines and sent 24 employees home. Other workers have been forced to retire or resign from their positions in the company due to uncertainty regarding their jobs here. The concerns we all had are being realized now with the plant's intention to send 52 more people home. Once, this plant employed 270 people."
Today (Wednesday), company employees intend to hold a protest in front of the management's offices. Yesterday, they called on Delek's owner Tshuva to become involved in saving their work place. "There are people who have been working here for 30-35 years. Where would they go? We may not be a gas reservoir, but there is a collection of souls here, of people providing for their families. We want Tshuva to know what is going on here and hear our cry. We expect him to become involved urgently," Bernstein said.
86 out of 110 Gadot employees are members of the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) and have signed a collective agreement with the plant's management. Head of the Histadrut's Haifa District, Rafi Massat, has accompanied them in their struggle against the management's plans. "The company does not respect the collective agreement it has signed with us: it includes clauses stating that wages could be raised for some workers based on their seniority. CEO Eldan now conditions the realization of these agreements on the commitee agreeing to the firing of 52 people. We cannot agree to that," Bernstein said. "We are not a contentious committee; we are all moderate and want what is best for this place. If the owner Yitzhak Tshuva thinks that this plant should be closed - let him shut it, but he should respect us and make arrangements that would let us live with dignity." Company sources said yesterday that the rehabilitation plan is due to difficulties in competing with food industry raw materials imported from Turkey at low prices.
CEO Eldan former CEO of Kitan Textile Industries Ltd. told "Globes" in response, "We reject the claims that have been made. In the past two years, Gadot has been undergoing an ongoing and exhaustive rehabilitation process, aimed at enabling the plant to continue its routine operation. We intend to continue our dialogue with the employees, with the participation of Histadrut representatives, as we had done in the past, in order to reach an agreement regarding the best possible way of realizing the rehabilitation plan under the circumstances that have developed."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 3, 2016
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