Talks to end Israel Chemicals strike break down

Israel Chemicals workers protest

Israel Chemicals and the Histadrut are accusing each other of going back on what has already been agreed.

Negotiations between Israel Chemicals (TASE: ICL: NYSE: ICL) management and the workers and the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) have broken down. In response to a question from "Globes," Israel Chemicals said, "Until we receive clarifications from the Histadrut about the disavowal of what was previously agreed in the negotiations with the workers, the negotiations will not be renewed."

At the same time, a spokesman from the workers committee and the workers committees from Dead Sea Works and Bromine Compounds are planning to continue negotiations today. A Histadrut spokesman told "Globes," "ICL management has chosen to break up the negotiations in recent days with the Histadrut and the workers committees, while making more extreme demands and revoking agreements achieved in the marathon talks held. The Histadrut will report in the next few hours to the Beer Sheva Labor Court president."

As far as is known, the discussion ended yesterday with an unsolved dispute about two key points. Israel Chemicals management is insisting on consent to moving workers from one department to another, one division to another, and one plant to another, while maintaining seniority, rank, and taking the worker's workplace and place of residence into account. This measure, which is aimed at providing managerial flexibility, will be traded for a commitment to refrain from layoffs at the company for the next three years. The workers committee is absolutely refusing to allow workers to be moved, even in exchange for three years of stability and no layoffs and a reduction in the number of layoffs now.

Another dispute, which Israel Chemicals says seemed on the way to a solution before the workers committee retracted its agreement, concerns which workers will leave the company, whether through voluntary retirement procedures or layoffs. There was some agreement about some of the workers in recent days, but the workers committee announced yesterday that it insisted on removing several names from the list, some of them committee members or their personal acquaintances. Among other things, the workers committee is demanding the removal of one of its members, who appointed himself to a new position on the workers committee and stopped working at the plant, from the list of layoffs. This is in addition to the committee chairman, who, as is usual in such systems, does not work in the plant. The dispute about the names is also acrimonious.

The hearing at the Beer Sheva Labor Court was scheduled for yesterday, but was postponed to Thursday at the request of the parties.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 19, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

Israel Chemicals workers protest
Israel Chemicals workers protest
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