El Al Israel Airlines will close its Haifa branch today after the labor court in the city turned down a complaint this week by employees.
An appeal to the National Labor Court on the issue is being weighed. For now the nine El Al employees are expected to work from home for three months on a trial basis.
The airline declined to comment on the closure of the branch, but did state that management did not intend to lay off the employees and had proposed a range of options to ensure their employment, all of which were rejected by the union. Among the proposed options, according to the airline, were allowing the Haifa staff to work at Ben-Gurion International Airport, begin work an hour and a half late and receive pay for the 90 minutes. Another option was to work from home, the airline confirmed.
"It's true that we weren't laid off," said one staff member of the El Al Haifa branch, "but it's not clear how we will continue working from home." She said she thought the installation of computers at home would take time and said the airline had not given them details regarding the switch.
The workers' committee offered to fund the half-million shekels a year that it costs to maintain the Haifa office if El Al continued to keep it open and pay the staff's salaries, but the airline and the Histadrut both rejected this option.
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