IEC Staffers Still Not Back on the Job

Histadrut labor federation Chairman Ofer Eini yesterday announced the cancellation of an all-out strike by Israel Electric Corporation employees, which was scheduled to begin this morning. The workers will nonetheless continue to hold a partial strike.

The workers - who are protesting the partial privatization of the electric company - began their partial strike yesterday and are expected to return to their regular working hours tomorrow.

In carrying out the partial strike, the employees have been operating on the same reduced schedule they use for weekends and holidays, after the National Labor Court gave them permission on Monday to hold a strike that is "limited in time."

The court accepted a workers' committee and Histadrut appeal of last week's ruling by a Haifa labor court, which held that the electric company workers could not strike until March 11.

Several days ago, the Knesset passed the first reading of a law calling for reform in the electricity market, whereby the electric company will be split into several units ahead of its partial privatization, scheduled to take place in 2013.

The government decided on the privatization unilaterally, after negotiations with the electric company management and the workers' committee fell through.

The committee, led by Miki Tzarfati, has said that it plans to intensify its protests against the reform, which it says will increase electricity rates and negatively affect the workers' employment security and wage conditions.