El Al Engineers to Launch Work Slowdown

Union says that in 2008, the airline agreed for the engineers to get their own special wage deal.

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El Al engineers are expected to declare a work slowdown Friday to demand a collective wage agreement separate from other airline workers.

The move at the height of the summer travel season would come 14 days after the official declaration of the dispute - a period required by law.

The engineers' union says that in 2008, El AL agreed for the engineers to get their own special wage agreement.

“You have not signed the [engineers’] agreement, despite the repeated inquiries by the engineers' union,” union representative Tamar Chiararo wrote to CEO Elyezer Shkedy and work relations chief Shlomo Yitzhaki.

According to an El Al spokesman, “El Al management did not receive any inquiry regarding the issue from the person holding the transportation portfolio at the Histadrut [labor federation], the one person who represents all El Al workers.”

The dispute is not related to separate negotiations with the general employees' union over a new collective work agreement and a plan for new efficiency measures; these efforts have also reached a dead end.

Eighty of El Al's engineers are members of the engineers' union and the general union. Despite their modest number among the company's thousands of employees, they hold key roles; for example, no plane can take off without a flight engineer’s signature.

El Al planes parked at Ben-Gurion airport. Sunday, April 21, 2013.Credit: AP

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