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After a lull of four months, the Bezeq industrial dispute is back on line. The workers committee, headed by Shlomo Kfir, called on the Histadrut labor federation to declare an industrial dispute, as the official pronouncement is the legal precursor of possible strike action after a two-week period.

Kfir said that the dispute this time centers around the refusal of Bezeq management to extend the conditions for those of the 8,000 workforce taking early retirement to 2011, instead of the current arrangement, which offers the terms only until 2008.

In addition, Kfir said that Bezeq management plans to lay off 500 workers, and then replace them with new workers under poorer work conditions. "This is a revolving door policy that the [workers] committee rejects," he said.

"Bezeq CEO Amnon Dick is harming the privatization process and is driving Bezeq's market value down," Kfir accused. "Several decisions that he made demonstrate his intention to return the company to a period of industrial unquiet and instability. I fear that this situation will help potential buyers, pushing the company value down before the sale."

Bezeq responded: "The management calls upon the workers committee to help the privatization process and to avoid any move that might harm it. We are acting to advance the privatization and to bring the process to a successful conclusion."