Protesting FIBI Workers Won't Arrange Credit Limits for Customers

Workers demand bonus for 2004; management says profit that year was too low

Labor unrest refuses to die down at the First International Bank of Israel (known as Beinleumi). The union's latest steps, instituted from Friday, are to stop all marketing campaigns - and to stop arranging credit limits for customers.

A new reform prohibiting customers from borrowing beyond their credit ceiling, unless through a formal loan agreement, officially came into force from January 1, 2006. But bowing to pressures from the banks and customers alike, the Bank of Israel deferred full enforcement of the reform to June 1.

The marketing campaign most affected is an aggressive recruitment drive targeting teachers, at an investment of millions of shekels, which included the cost of benefits for teachers who opened accounts at FIBI.

The union proceeded with the disruptions du jour even though negotiations with management have resumed. The labor representatives are demanding that all FIBI workers receive one month's pay as a bonus for 2004. Management is refusing on the grounds that the 2004 profit had been small.