The United Mizrahi Bank workers committee submitted a petition over the weekend for an emergency restraining order against the bank's management, claiming it is signing personal contracts with former Bank Tefahot workers in violation of the current collective bargaining agreement.

"Management's actions undermine the workers' representative organization in an attempt to harm its status," the petition to the regional Labor Court charged. Tefahot was merged into Mizrahi Bank six months ago.

The petition for the restraining order was triggered by Mizrahi Bank management's announcement to former Tefahot workers that it would raise their salaries commensurate with Mizrahi Bank levels. Management conditioned the salary hike on workers signing a personal contract. The committee also charged that management made it clear to employees that only those signing the personal contract by Monday would be able to enjoy this benefit.

A Mizrahi Bank spokesperson said the personal contract offers former Tefahot employees benefits that former Tefahot managers are already enjoying. "Now the committee is trying, through its petition to the Labor Court, to deny workers improved salary conditions using ridiculous logic," said the spokesperson. "Management informed the committee a year ago of its intentions," the representative added, "but the committee is acting as if it's surprised."

Workers declared a labor dispute more than a year ago. A mediator appointed eight months ago was able to resolve some of the issues, but the committee sees the personal contract proposal as a new catalyst for the ongoing dispute, the spokesperson contended.