50,000 Israelis Still Without Power After Sunday's Storm

Israel Electric Corporation accuses union of blocking repairs; IEC says outages likely to be fixed by afternoon.

AFP

Some 50,000 Israelis remained without power for a second day on Monday following a storm that swept across Israel Sunday.

The Israel Electric Corporation blamed labor unions for refusing to make repairs following Sunday's storm.

The power outages have mostly affected the Sharon area, mainly the cities of Ra'anana and Netanya.

The IEC said the power outages will likely be fixed by the afternoon.

On Sunday, the National Labor Court ordered IEC staff to resume working on an emergency schedule after management said it had “learned that, under instructions from the workers committee, employees have not been working on an emergency basis as is customary during heavy storms.”

The court ordered workers to resume working according to emergency protocol.

The court petition comes two weeks after David (Miko) Zarfati, chairman of the IEC workers’ committee, warned the Knesset Economics Committee that workers might refuse to respond in the next big emergency, in order to protest reforms in the power-generation sector.

Sunday, however, the workers’ committee denied they were preventing repair work. “Company employees have been overwhelmed by the burden created by management failure and the criminal neglect of the government,” it said.

On Sunday there were multiple blackouts across the country from the morning onward, without any expectation that they would be repaired. IEC blamed strong winds and rains that felled trees and cut power cables, mainly in the Sharon area and center of the country.