Unscheduled Strike Causes Disruptions at Ben Gurion Airport

At least four flights scheduled to take off have been delayed by Israel Airport Authority workers protesting wage agreement.

Israel Airports Authority (IAA) employees launched an unscheduled strike Tuesday, causing delays in four flights scheduled to take off from Ben Gurion Airport.

The employees are protesting a salary agreement that was accepted by the IAA management but has yet to be green-lighted by the finance ministry.

Some of the flights were initially delayed, and received permission to take off roughly 40 minutes later, while others were met with continued delays. Incoming flights were not affected. IAA employees are protesting a salary agreement which was authorized by the authority management, but has yet to be approved by the Finance Ministry.

Just as afternoon flights began taking off, employees began the strike, causing delays. Flights to destinations such as Kiev, Munich, Vienna, Istanbul, Zurich, and Rhodes, were delayed. The delays generated overwhelming traffic on the IAA website, making it difficult for travelers to receive live updates. IAA officials stated that they are taking part in intensive negotiations with an official appointed by the Finance Ministry to bring about an immediate solution to the matter. A situation room was opened to deal with the issue.

The employees, who have been negotiating with the management over amending veteran workers' salaries, also protested two weeks ago. Following their protest headway was made between the sides, but the finance ministry has yet to approve the deal.

The Finance Ministry responded, “During one of the most stressful seasons at the airport, IAA employees decided to go on strike at the expense of the Israeli public. This baseless strike demonstrates a lack of responsibility, and is meant to add illegitimate pressure to ongoing negotiations. IAA management refrains from taking legal action, so employees won’t shut down the airport time and time again. Full responsibility for the damage caused by the strike, and its ramifications lies both with the IAA management and its employees.”