The workers committee at Partner Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; TASE: PTNR) is readying for the anticipated merger with HOT Telecommunication Systems Ltd. (TASE: HOT). The committee has hired the services of Prof. Yaron Zelekha, who is an adviser on economic matters to the chairman of the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) and who also advised Pelephone's workers in the negotiations on a new collective labor agreement in the operational consolidation of the subsidiaries of Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Co. Ltd. (TASE: BEZQ).
Last week, Hot submitted a NIS 3 billion takeover bid to the Partner board. Hot wants to buy Partner outright and delist it from the stock exchange. The Partner board is currently examining the bid. If it is accepted, it will lead to the formation of a strong telecommunications group. The deal will go ahead if it looks as though the Competition Authority will not oppose it.
Partner workers committee chairperson Keren Ofek said, "No significant business move such as a merger can go ahead without the workers' agreement and assurances about their employment security. The bid currently on the agenda is dangerous, in its economic aspects and consequences for competition, and also for the employees. It was precisely for moments like this that we took our destiny into our own hands and set up the Partner workers committee. We are here to protect the workers, and also the company that we love and believe in, and in whose founding we were full partners."
On Prof. Zelekha, Ofek said, "To care about the workers also means hiring the best professionals, who will help us to navigate the ship in a stormy and dynamic market, and to achieve the best possible result for the company's employees. I have o doubt that Prof. Zelekha is the right person in the right place, and that with him we will be prepared for any eventuality and any scenario."
Prof. Zelekha himself also commented on the recent media reports, saying, "The foolish idea of a merger between Hot and Partner is a slap in the face for the Israeli consumer and a return to the years before the mobile telephony revolution. It's clear why the big shareholders want a merger, and it's equally clear why consumers and anyone to whom the problem of the cost of living is close to his heart should oppose the merger. We will do everything in our power to stop the formation of a new monopoly in the mobile market.
"The merger will clearly endanger hundreds of jobs at Partner, Hot, and Hot Mobile, and we will not let consumers and employees pay the price of the shareholders' swinish capitalism."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 3, 2020
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