Ben Gurion Airport Disruptions Escalate

Striking workers refuse to fix problems with luggage system

The disruptions at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv escalated on Wednesday afternoon. Temporary workers at the airport have been striking since Tuesday afternoon, in protest at plans to fire 120 of their numbers, mainly porters and cleaners.

A labor tribunal suggested deferring the layoffs by two week to enable negotiation. The management has yet  to respond.

The central luggage system ground to a halt at mid-day Wednesday, so luggage could not be loaded on the planes. The workers are refusing to fix the problem, which is likely to delay flights.

The management called up permanent workers to take the place of the striking temps, who continued their sanctions today despite a ruling last night from the Tel Aviv Labor Tribunal ordering them back on the job.

The tribunal is holding another hearing on Wednesday afternoon, in the presence of representatives from management and the workers, to try to agree on a two-week delay for negotiation in the dismissals.

The management and labor representatives have been discussing the issues for the last two weeks. But labor representatives claim management issue letters of dismissal behind their backs, and accused the airline managers of acting in bad faith.

The Airport Authority calls on El Al passengers who left their baggage behind in the airport to come and collect their bags. Access to the lounge to collect bags requires only a passport and ticket. The airport information number is +972-3-9755555.