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Ashdod employees held a surprise walk-out early this week, resulting in a halt to the loading and unloading of ships in the port.

Sources in the Histadrut labor federation said that the impetus for the strike is refusal by the treasury and the Government Companies Authority to approve a draft agreement reached three weeks ago between the workers' committee and the management of Ashdod port.

The agreement would provide management more flexibility and would grant a series of benefits to employees, for instance, shorter shifts for crane workers with no change in their salary. But authorities say the draft contravenes government wage policy and earlier agreements; and described some of the articles as scandalous, providing the workers' committee with de-facto control over the port.