Staff at Israeli Daily Maariv Announce Strike, Stop Presses

Employees demand clarifications regarding new owner's plans for the newspaper, including the number of employees to be absorbed, and the paper's structure.

Employees of the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv, have gone on strike, and declared that no newspaper will be printed on Wednesday, adding that Maariv's website, NRG, will not be updated, as well.

The Maariv employees committee has stated that the strike is supported by the Histadrut Labor organization.

Employees are demanding clarifications regarding the future plans of new owner Shlomo Ben Zvi, including the number of employees that will be absorbed, and the paper's basic structure under new ownership.

Among other demands, the workers insist that the collective bargaining agreement be honored, and that any move that violates the terms of the agreement be done in coordination with the employees.

The decision to strike is apparently a reaction to moves made by Ben Zvi over the last few days.

On Tuesday, the employees committee was informed that representatives for Ben Zvi had proposed to some employees that they could be absorbed by the new ownership, but at lower salaries, and that any employee who earns more than NIS 22,000 in a year will undergo new negotiations. This policy is in violation of the collective agreement.

It was also revealed that overtures were made to whole departments of the newspaper, regarding employing them on a temporary basis, which is also outside the framework of the collective agreement.

These moves were made in secret, without coordination with the employee's committee.

In response, the Journalists' Association said: "Over the last day, we have uncovered very alarming details regarding implementation of the collective agreement that we signed, the agreement we fought for provides us safety as employees. When we see that safety being chipped away, we must fight against it."