Flights Disrupted at Ben-Gurion Airport Due to Baggage Handlers' Dispute

Israel Airport Authority’s new tender for the running of the cargo terminal makes no mention of existing employees or terms of their employment. Up to 500 workers may face dismissal.

Departures from Ben-Gurion International Airport have been delayed due to sanctions by Israel Airports Authority workers to show solidarity with employees of Maman, the cargo operations company based at the airport’s cargo terminals, who are demonstrating in front of the authority’s management’s offices.

On Tuesday, the Histadrut declared a work conflict in Maman to protest the terms of the IAA’s new tender for running the general cargo terminal at Ben-Gurion Airport.

At the same time, hundreds of employees of Maman, which runs the terminal, have been demonstrating since 8 A.M. Wednesday opposite the offices of IAA management to protest the terms of the new tender. IAA employees have engaged in solidarity sanctions as well, and Histadrut labor federation representatives are participating in the demonstration.

“The work conflict was declared following the publication of the new tender for managing and running the terminal, although no negotiations were held with the Histadrut or the workers’ committee and no mention was made of setting the terms of employment for the existing workers,” a Histadrut official said on Tuesday. “The labor conflict was declared because of the disregard shown to the workers’ future job security, despite repeated attempts by the Histadrut and workers’ representatives to immediate begin talks about the tender’s implications for the workers.”

“About 500 workers who have been working at the terminal for about 40 years are facing dismissal,” said Histadrut Transport Workers’ Union Chairman Avi Edery. “We call upon the management to begin immediate talks for the continued employment of the existing workers. The Histadrut is determined to wage a struggle against any franchisee, using any method at its disposal to keep the workers of Maman employed at the cargo terminals.”

The chairman of the workers’ committee at Maman, Rafi Suzin, said, “It looks like the transportation minister and the IAA don’t care about 500 families who have fallen on hard times. We were at the Histadrut today and they have promised us full support. The Histadrut’s position is identical to ours — anyone who wins the tender must begin talks with the Histadrut about setting the terms of our employment.”

Nir Keidar