Israeli cargo operations company Maman has been awarded the 15-year franchise to continue operating the cargo terminal at Ben-Gurion International Airport. The decision was made on Wednesday. Earlier this week, some 300 Maman employees demonstrated in front of the Israel Airports Authority management offices, causing delayed departures and the cancellation of four flights.
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Histadrut labor federation (which represents organized labor in Israel) had declared a work conflict at Maman to protest the IAA terms of the tender for running the general cargo terminal at Ben-Gurion Airport. The Histadrut said the tender had been issued without any agreement with unions regarding the terms of employment for existing workers; this would have meant an uncertain future for Maman’s 480-person staff had another company been awarded the franchise.
“We are thrilled that labor solidarity has again proven itself,” said Rafi Suzin, chairman of the Maman workers’ committee. “The results of the tender can only be a source of comfort for Maman’s 500 workers.”
As it turns out, they had little to fear. The IAA reported that nine companies entered the bidding; however, TheMarker has learned that while nine companies did purchase required documents to place a bid, only two bids were actually submitted - one by Maman and a second by a consortium of five companies, which the IAA declined to name.
Maman's winning bid was for NIS 21.5 million, NIS 6.5 million more than the minimum specified in the tender. However, because Maman won the concession for general cargo, the antitrust authority has ordered the company to give up the franchise for agricultural cargo. Last year, Maman handled 60% of the 290,000 tons of cargo at Ben-Gurion Airport, generating revenues of NIS 151.1 million.
Their existing contract was set to expire in March 2014. Maman has operated the general cargo terminal since 1974.