Around 200 employees of the Israeli daily Maariv demonstrated in front of a Shufersal supermarket branch in Tel Aviv on Sunday in protest against the impending sale of the paper by its owner, Israeli businessman Nochi Dankner.
The employees, who fear the paper will close as early as this week, chanted slogans protesting Maariv management's failure to transfer severance and pension payments to employees' bank accounts.
Employees received only a third of their August salary last Friday and the remaining two-thirds on Sunday.
They also called on the Israeli government to step in and save the paper. Among other things, they chanted “One paper, one regime” and called on Dankner to hand over their wages.
Police reportedly prevented protesters from entering the supermarket branch after some attempted to go in and take items without paying for them, insisting this would be compensation for the benefits they do not expect to receive. Nochi Danker, the newspaper's owner, is also the owner of Shufersal.
Protesters managed to block traffic on Ibn Gvirol Street for several minutes before Yasam police special forces dispersed them.
The daily paper is slated to be sold to Shlomo Ben-Zvi, whose Hirsch Media firm publishes the right-leaning nationalist paper Makor Rishon. The sale is expected to result in the dismissal of most of Maariv's staff.
If, as expected, the Maariv printing plant in Bat Yam, which is not part of the deal, is also sold, it will lead to the loss of jobs of all of the paper's printing and distribution staff.
Dankner has provided a commitment to Maariv's employees that all of the sale proceeds from Maariv would be directed first to the paper's liabilities including its obligations to its workers. He also promised to include a worker representative in the negotiations with Ben-Zvi over the sale of the paper's intangible assets.
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