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The sanctions by the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) workers are legitimate, Haifa Labor Court ruled yesterday.

As part of the sanctions, which have been approved by the Histadrut labor federation, IEC workers have not been fixing problems at most power stations or company facilities. They are also not unloading ships bringing coal to the IEC.

The cause of the sanctions is the company's refusal to sign an agreement with the union that would guarantee workers a 20-percent salary hike.

Employees also oppose structural changes planned for the IEC, which would break the firm up into 17 separate entities, some of which would be put up for sale.

IEC management claimed the sanctions are causing incredible damage to Israel's energy sector and the company's coffers and are increasing the number of power outages. Management also claimed the sanctions are threatening the IEC's coal supplies and are harming the company's good name, as well as being illegal.

The Histadrut and the employees claimed that the heart of the dispute is management's refusal to sign a wage agreement, along with the expected structural changes, which have never been negotiated with the workers.

The judge rejected management's claims that the strikes were politically motivated .

In a partial victory for management, the judge did order the workers to unload the coal ships.

IEC management plans to appeal the decision to the National Labor Court.