Rotem Amfert CEO pleads with employees to end strike

The Israel Chemicals phosphates unit has been on strike since Wednesday.

"The company's management regrets the strike by the workers committee. The damage is great, our market position has been harmed, and customers expected to receive our products will go elsewhere. The company is in dire straits, prices in the global market have plummeted and competition is fierce against rivals which have undertaken far-reaching streamlining technical and personnel measures. Rotem Amfert has an inferior cost structure compared with its competitors, and we're also burdened by the higher fees imposed by the government, which worsen our competitiveness," said Rotem Amfer Negev president and CEO Nissim Adar in a letter today to the company's 1,200 employees, who have been on strike since last Wednesday.

Rotem Amfert is the phosphates unit of Israel Chemicals Ltd. (TASE: ICL). The strike at the company's Mishor Rotem, Oron, and Zinn sites was called in response to the additional layoffs initiated by Israel Chemicals. The parties are not in talks.

"For months, we've been trying to negotiate with the workers, but the workers committee refuses to understand the company's business situation, and responds with this destructive act, instead of being a real partner in helping management save the company," said Adar, who goes on to accuse the workers committee of usurpation. "The workers committee has taken a step farther, and is trying to manage the company with operational orders directly to the workers, while ignoring safety and environmental considerations. The workers committee bears the responsibility for the severe damage caused and the consequent financial burden."

"Management's decision to withdraw from the agreed retirement plan, after 106 of 115 employees already retired, and its intention to fire 24 more workers leaves us no choice but to fight to prevent the layoffs. Until now, the workers are the only ones paying the cost of the streamlining," said workers committee chairman Moshe Hadad in response. "The workers have contributed their share to the recovery and streamlining, while management has contributed nothing."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on March 17, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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