Airport Authority Workers to Go on Unlimited Strike Starting Monday

Workers protest 'unilateral' structural reforms by management; flight delays, cancellations expected.

Israel Airport Authority (IAA) workers on Thursday announced their intention to go on an unlimited strike starting Monday to protest the company's structural reorganization.

Workers say reforms to the public corporation in charge of Israel's civil airports and border terminals is being carried out unilaterally.

The strike may seriously disrupt air traffic to and from Israel, and cancel flights beyond the planned schedule. In addition, no tests will be carried out on planes and pilot licenses will not be issued.

In a letter to Transport Ministry Managing-Director Gidon Sterman, Histadrut labor union official Rafi Rfyente cited last Monday's failed meeting as the trigger for the workers decision.

He said workers fear their salaries and work conditions will be hurt by management's intention to outsource jobs without consulting them.

Transport ministry officials denied the allegations, saying the workers may apply for any position within the new company structure, and that neither their salaries nor conditions would be hurt.

IAA workers stage wildcat strike to protest pirate radio disruptionsIsrael Airport Authority workers went on a wildcat strike at Ben-Gurion International Airport Thursday morning to protest the renewed disruptions to control tower communications caused by pirate radio broadcasts.

The sanctions lasted for an hour, and teh departure of two flights was delayed.

In a meeting convened by Attorney General Menachem Mazuz Wednesday, it was decided that the police will intensify its efforts to shutdown pirate radio stations by financially penalizing pirate radio operators.

The cabinet decided on Sunday to establish a ministerial panel, headed by Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, to combat illegal radio broadcasts.

The panel will also include Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, Communications Minister Ariel Attias and Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann. The Prime Minister's Office will also assist the panel to battle the pirate radio phenomenon.

In the past two weeks, Director General of the Israel Airports Authority Gabi Ofir has issued orders to temporarily halt all flights at Ben Gurion International Airport after pirate radio broadcasts repeatedly disrupted communications between the air traffic control tower and airplane staff.