Polinum - 17.7.11
Haifa port. Photo by Mann Shinar Architects
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The Haifa Port shut down for several hours yesterday after the union called a meeting of administrative employees following a dispute over an employee's rank.

Dozens of trucks lined up in the road outside the port after their entrance was barred while the employees - who run the software that operates the container terminals and oversees all the loading and unloading - convened.

The Haifa Port management tried to get hold of Haifa District people at the Histadrut labor federation and stop the impromptu strike, in vain. The Haifa District people weren't there. The top people had taken the day off to help their Labor Party favorites. Eli Nahmias, spokesman of the Histadrut labor federation Haifa District, said he couldn't comment because he was preoccupied with the Labor Party elections.

A source at the port said the grounds for the sudden shutdown was a dispute between port management and the administrative workers' union over the precise job title of a certain worker, which could have implications for his rank and, therefore, his pay. The Haifa Port spokesman said the shutdown had been immediately brought to the attention of management and said the port apologized to its clients for the delays. Strikes not approved by the Histadrut are not legal, yet there have been several in recent weeks at both the Haifa and Ashdod ports.

A month ago workers at Ashdod went on a go-slow strike, to demand that they be in charge of maintaining newly acquired cranes, not workers from the company that actually made the cranes.