Ben Gurion Airport Employees Declare Peak Season Strike

Starting Thursday morning, employees will operate under emergency procedures with a reduced number of staff members. Heavy delays are expected both with arrivals and departures.

The Israel Airports Authority employees union has declared a general strike beginning Thursday morning at 6 A.M., as part of a dispute over pension funds.

Employees will operate under emergency procedures, with a reduced number of staff members. Heavy delays are expected both with arrivals and departures. The union's board will convene on Saturday night to determine its next steps.

Ben Gurion Airport
Planes lining up for take off at Ben-Gurion Airport, April 2010.Moti Milrod

The employees threatened to take such action about two weeks ago. The union contends that the IAA is dragging its feet in negotiations over the establishment of a fund to safeguard workers' pensions. Airport employees say the workers' committee and the Histadrut labor federation have approached the IAA on this issue several times over the past two years, but no progress has been made.

Peak travel season is currently underway, as thousands of citizens head abroad to take advantage of the end of summer and the month of Jewish holidays in September. Travelers have reported that the airport is packed around the clock.

Committee chairman Pinhas Idan said the stalling by IAA management endangers the workers' pensions.

The airport staff is demanding an immediate resolution of the issue, saying that pension assets should not be directed to any use other than paying pension benefits.

The IAA spokesman said in response: "Negotiations are taking place on an ongoing and serious basis."

Moreover, he noted, the IAA's board decided three years ago already that pension monies would not be used for any other purpose.

"Management will do everything it can to avoid disruption to the service provided to travelers," the spokesman added.