Israel Railways this morning notified the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) had declared a labor dispute at the company. This means that a strike is possible starting on July 19. The labor dispute is the company's second in the six months since Gila Edri resumed the post of chair of Israel Railways' workers' committee, following two years of tranquil labor relations at the company.
"Globes" recently quoted internal Israel Railways sources as saying that labor disputes were liable to delay the scheduled Sukkot-eve launching of the high-speed Tel Aviv-Jerusalem rail link. The workers said at the time that the real reason for the likely delay was the failure of the contractor to meet timetables, not labor disputes.
In any case, it is unclear at this stage whether the new labor dispute declared will affect the launch date for the new line. Israel Railways' announcement merely stated, "The substance of the labor dispute involves a claim by the workers' representatives that one of the company's infrastructure jobs is being outsourced."
"Israel Railways' management continues to privatize more and more infrastructure work at the workers' expense," a workers' committee source told "Globes." "The infrastructure division has not hired more workers in recent years. The young workers who have remained are bearing the burden, while responsibility in these jobs has been doubled and tripled. Instead of hiring maintenance workers, management is hiring more and more managers and administrative staff, while giving maintenance jobs to contractors at double the cost. We demand the creation of more jobs instead of giving work to contractors." The source added that the current dispute would not affect the launch date for the high-speed Tel Aviv-Jerusalem line.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 5, 2018
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