Ashdod Port Union Boss Returns to Work After Forced Leave

Histadrut panel rules that Alon Hassan did not directly or indirectly conduct business with port through companies he owns. Another probe is still underway

Ashdod Port union boss Alon Hassan returned to work yesterday, on the eve of renewed negotiations with government over the establishment of two privately-run ports. His return was approved by the Histadrut labor federation.

Hassan took a leave of absence from his position three months ago, amid an investigation into potential conflict of interest between his job as head of the port workers’ union and his various personal businesses. He used paid sick leave due him during the three months.

Hassan's request to return to work was approved by a specially-formed Histadrut committee, led by the labor federation’s legal counsel Yehiel Shamir. The committee said it had concluded that the accusations against Hassan were unfounded, based on permits and documents detailing his business operations that he had provided.

"As it appears today, [Hassan] did not maintain business relations either directly or indirectly with the Ashdod Port company,” the committee said in a statement.

The committee said Hassan had signed a declaration promising that he would refrain from conducting business with the port through his companies in the future. The declaration noted that violation of that commitment would result in Hassan’s dismissal. “Under these circumstances, there is no reason to prevent Hassan from returning to the workers' union,” the committee stated.

The conclusion of the Histadrut's investigation came just days after an accounting firm hired by port management to look into the conflict-of-interest allegations asked for more time to investigate and to submit its final report in the middle of October. The firm asked for the extension after discovering information indicating that Hassan and his business partner had ties with companies providing services to port customers, including the logistics company Dana Port. The company has expanded its business at Ashdod Port at a dizzying pace since it was founded in 2010.

Avi Bar-Eli contributed to this report.

Eliyah Melnikov