Business in Brief

IBM Israel lays off between 40 and 50 staff

IBM Israel has laid off between 40 and 50 of its administrative staff, and 50 others working in sales will be leaving the company next month. According to TheMarker sources, those who have left were given generous severance packages. IBM Israel employs about 2,000 people, including 1,100 at its research and development center − the largest such IBM facility outside the U.S. − and ranks as Israel’s fifth-largest supplier of computer services. . IBM Israel didn’t respond directly to the report, with a spokesman saying that the company “routinely makes adjustments in its required mix of skills.” ‏(Orr Hirschauge‏)

Union says it now represents Hot employees

The workers’ committee at Hot Telecom informed management on Sunday that it is now officially the representative body of the staff and that it has joined the Koach La’ovdim labor federation. The organization said that 1,200 of Hot’s 3,500 employees have joined its ranks, more than the one-third required for official status in collective labor negotiations. Organizing efforts had intensified over the past two weeks as many employees were moved to outsourcing companies. Hot said the transfers are voluntary but Koach La’ovdim maintained that employees were pressured to move. A labor dispute has been declared as well. ‏(Hila Weissberg‏)

More than half of Arab businessmen feel bias

A quarterly index measuring perceived discrimination against Arab employers was released on Sunday by the Economy Industry. The index, based on a representative sample of 1,000 Arab-owned businesses, found that 54.7% said they experienced some form of discrimination in 2012, up from 50% in 2011. But the depth of discrimination, measured on a scale of 1 to 4, fell from 2.8 in the second quarter of 2001 and 2.4 in the final quarter of 2012. “The increased number of Arab employers saying they face discrimination may be due to the widening public debate over equal opportunity in the wake of the social justice protests,” said Benny Fefferman, head of the ministry’s research unit. ‏(Hila Weissberg‏)

Babylon buys Israeli start-up for NIS 8 million

Babylon said on Sunday that it bought Israeli start-up Woolik for NIS 8 million in cash and stock, marking the online translation company’s first-ever acquisition. Woolik, founded in 2010, develops technology to personally adapt Internet search pages, enhancing customer value and user experience. “The basket of solutions is synergetic with the company’s activities and expected to help maintain and increase the customer base, contributing to improving the company’s performance,” Babylon said. ‏(Eran Azran‏)

Eliyahu Hershkovitz