Disruptions at Ben-Gurion Airport to Begin Today

The open-ended labor slowdown, which will disrupt the handling of arriving passengers, is the Tax Authority staff's effort to press for a pay raise.

AP

In an effort to press for a pay raise, Tax Authority staff have scheduled an open-ended labor slowdown beginning today that is expected to disrupt the handling of arriving passengers at Ben-Gurion International Airport, as well as at border crossing points between Israel and Jordan. The labor unrest is also expected to disrupt port operations.

The staff involved include Tax Authority employees who handle customs and value-added tax collection, as well as computer system employees. Their work-to-rule action will see them meticulously following required procedure, which in the process is expected to include slower handling of incoming airport passenger luggage, and incoming and outgoing cargo. The action has the support of the Histadrut labor federation.

In a related development, office staff at the Tax Authority and the Israel Land Authority will come to work but not receive members of the public.

Officials at the Finance Ministry expressed surprise at the action, at a time when the Histadrut and ministry were preparing to resume negotiations on a public sector wage agreement to take effect in January. Until then, the officials claim, the Histadrut has committed to industrial peace and to refrain from any such disruptions. However, Vadim Evenstein, the chairman of the Tax Authority workers’ committee, accused the Finance Ministry of dragging its feet in the negotiations over a new wage pact.