Ashdod Port
Ashdod Port Photo by Limor Edrey
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Protests that disrupted operations at the Ashdod port over the last two weeks, over lunch vouchers as incentives, have been put on ice, after intervention by the National Labor Court.

Ruling Wednesday on a petition filed by the Manufacturers Association, Judge Nili Adler ordered workers to cease their sanctions until June 1. That gives the Histradut, the Finance Ministry and representatives of the port workers two weeks to resolve the dispute.

Port workers went on strike, with the backing of the Histradut labor federation, after the Finance Ministry and Government Companies Authority took a favorite perk off the table. Namely, they refused to continue an incentive perk in the form of meal vouchers (for two ) redeemable at restaurants around Ashdod.

The vouchers were given to longshoremen, crane operators and porters in exchange for increased output. Their favorite restaurant by a nautical mile was the Sinta steak grill, based on which the vouchers became known as "Sintas".

Through June 1, workers are to try to maintain production at pre-strike levels. Those who exceed normal output during those two weeks will receive credit for future meal vouchers, but the vouchers themselves cannot be issued until the dispute is resolved.

Ultimately, the goal is to reach an agreement on a long-term incentive plan for high levels of output, either through the voucher plan or other means such as bonuses.

Judge Adler ruled that if the parties fail to reach an agreement, the court will resolve the issue and decide on the types of inventives offered to workers.

The disrupted operations at Ashdod port enraged trucking companies, and in retaliation Tuesday, truckers refused to handle cargo for the day's busiest port shift.