Business in Brief

Ashdod Port halts container operations over safety dispute; nearly a quarter of salaried workers unionized.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

Ashdod Port halts container operations over safety dispute

The management of Ashdod Port ordered a halt to all cargo container operations yesterday in response to a decision by the mechanical equipment workers’ union instructing dock workers to ignore managers’ work and safety instructions, in particular wearing Day-Glo safety vests. Employees arrived to their jobs with the vests and 15 minutes into the shift simultaneously removed them. Management said the situation posed a danger to workers, forcing it to shut down operations, which account for 70% of the port’s activities. Unions claim that instructions to wear the vest came unannounced, while management said the rule had been in force since 2000. Last Monday, the mechanical workers’ union disrupted work for an hour over a dispute regarding the placement of cranes. (Daniel Schmil)

Nearly a quarter of salaried workers unionized

Some 24% of the 3.2 million salaried workers in Israel are unionized and a third are covered by collective-bargaining agreements – above average for countries in the developed world, according to a Bank of Israel survey released yesterday. Israel’s unionization rate is above the average of 18% for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, but much lower than the approximately 70% rate seen in Sweden, Finland and Denmark, the central bank said. The highest level of unionization is in the electric-power and water industries and in government, where the unionization rates were 95% and 78%, respectively. In contrast, only 13-15% of agricultural, commerce, hospitality and construction workers are covered by collective-bargaining agreements. Union membership is far more common among older people ages 55 to 59 than it is among those between 20 and 30, where the rate falls to just 20%. (Tali Heruti-Sover)

Eurex launching futures based on TA-25 index

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and the Eurex Exchange (a part of the Deutsche Borse Group) will list and clear index futures based on the blue-chip TA-25 index, under an agreement signed with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange yesterday. “Cooperation with Eurex opens up exciting new investment opportunities for our investors by allowing them to develop new trading and hedging strategies. The cross-listing arrangement will contribute to the further development of the Israeli financial market,” TASE CEO Ester Levanon said. Eurex’s TA-25 index futures will be denominated in U.S. dollars and begin trading in 2014. By the end of the third quarter, the TA-25 index options were the tenth most-traded index derivatives contracts worldwide, with an average daily volume of 190,000 contracts, the two sides noted. (Haaretz Staff

Containers at Ashdod Port. The ports were among the most profitable government companies in 2013.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum