Israel Railways signed a deal yesterday to outsource the maintenance of more than 130 new train cars, despite fierce opposition from its workers’ union. Last Thursday, Transportation Minister Israel Katz said that a deal would be signed by the end of the month.

Under Sunday’s deal, Bombardier, the manufacturer of the train cars, will be responsible for the upkeep of 130 cars it has sold to the railways.

The union, for its part, has launched a series of illegal strikes to protest the deal with Bombardier. It has been negotiating over the issue with Israel Railways management for more than a year and a half.

“The union prevented all progress on the matter, even though the government and the management promised the workers job security and undertook to hire hundreds of new workers under the collective wage agreement. The management even offered workers a 12% raise,” a statement from Israel Railways said.

Earlier Sunday, the Histadrut labor federation petitioned the Tel Aviv District Labor Court, asking it to grant the railway employees permission to strike in the wake of Katz’s announcement on Thursday.

The Histadrut says this is a blatant violation of the government’s commitment last week to reduce use of subcontracted workers.