Haifa Port Mulls Industrial Dispute

Avi Shmoul
Avi Shmoul

The Histadrut Labor Federation may soon declare a labor dispute at the Haifa Port, since, according to the union, the Ports Authority is breaching agreements with port workers. The director of the Haifa Port, Moshe Naveh, said that he was not aware of worker grievances until Ha'aretz asked for his response.

"The only legitimate claim is that of the workers of the sea department, with whom collective labor agreements have not yet been signed," he said. "I will gladly sit with them or with [Histadrut Haifa official Yigal] Cohen. The other arguments raised by the Histadrut, which pertain to management, are completely outside the labor union's jurisdiction. Israel is a law-abiding country, and we are entitled to make decisions."

The union also argues that 14 new workers were to join the staff but were not hired, and that several workers who were promised promotion did not receive it.

According to Cohen, the last straw was when 10 workers were not allowed to finish a course that would have given them a salary raise because they had not not completed 11 years of school. "These are people who have been working at the port for 30 and 40 years," Cohen said. "Everyone knew that they did not finish 11th grade when they sent them to the course.

Meanwhile, attorney Yoav Zuckerman, till now an assistant to Transportation Minister Ephraim Sneh, was appointed senior adviser to Ron. At Sneh's request, Zuckerman will focus on the incorporation of the ports. The government plans to turn each port into an independent corporation and thus create competition and efficiency.

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