Employees of the Israel Airports Authority have begun a wildcat strike. As of now, takeoffs are being delayed by an average of 30 minutes, and the workers committee has begun explanatory actions. The employees are protesting the Finance Ministry's decision to charge NIS 700 million in royalties on the Airport Authority's proceeds.
In early October, in the middle of the High Holy Days, the Airports Authority workers committee held an emergency meeting to discuss what to do if and when the government decides to charge the Airports Authority NIS 700 million in royalties.
It was decided during the meeting that out of consideration for the passengers, the workers committee would not implement sanctions during the holidays. At the same time, the committee said that after the holidays, if the government decides to charge royalties, the committee might announce a strike at Ben Gurion Airport. The committee also filed a request for a labor dispute with the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel), "so that it will be prepared if we have to strike," said committee chairman Pinchas Idan.
"It's better for these NIS 700 million to go for the public, the middle class, and poor people, who are being choked by decrees and fees," Idan said at the time. "The Ministry of Finance has forgotten that the State of Israel isn't a profit-making entity; its purpose is to serve its citizens. Not only does the Ministry of Finance want to take NIS 700 million from the Airports Authority, an agency that pays the state hundreds of millions of shekels in taxes a year, and isn't supported by it, it's also making basic services for citizens more expensive."
Idan added that the budget book presented by the Finance Ministry was loaded with decrees constituting a burden on the public, and also harming growth engines like the Airports Authority. "The state should take action, for example, to lower passenger fees in order to strengthen sectors that generate revenue for the state. Instead, the state is abusing the public in two ways: it's imposing decrees and also harming profitable bodies like the Airports Authority." p>Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 2, 2014
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