Ashdod Port Warns Union Workers on Slowdown

Disruptions at the port continued for a second day Tuesday, with ships being loaded and unloaded at half the usual pace.

Pavel Tolchansky

Disruptions at Ashdod port continued for a second day Tuesday, with ships being loaded and unloaded at half the usual pace. Port officials stepped up pressure on workers carrying out the sanctions, however, informing them they need not show up for work and would not be paid for the days port operations were disrupted.

Management sent a letter to hundreds of workers complaining about serious damage it said the sanctions were causing. “There have been major delays in the service provided to customers of the port. Ships that are due to dock at the port are choosing to obtain services at another port, which endangers our contracts with customers and could cause other serious damage, much of which would be irreversible,” the letter said.

Management said as a result of the slowdown, which came in reaction to the government’s plan to set up a privately-run port in Ashdod, as well as Haifa, that will compete with the existing state-run facilities, “there is no reason for these workers to show up at the port under these circumstances.” These workers, the letter said, should stay home until it is demonstrated that they have abandoned their sanctions and would return to working on a regular basis without disruption.

“The workers who have carried out sanctions will not receive their salaries from the time of this letter onward, and that is even if they show up at their places of work,” according to the letter.

As a result of the slowdown, more than 20 ships were waiting off shore to load or unload in Ashdod, while another 20 ships were waiting at the docks, port management said.

In other developments at the port, Avinoam Shoshan, who resigned as head of the port workers’ committee just before the outbreak of the strike, has agreed to return to the union position after a meeting on Tuesday with Histadrut labor federation chairman Avi Nissenkorn and the head of the transportation workers’ division. Histadrut sources said it is difficult to convince embittered port workers to forgo their sanctions when they have concerns about their job security.