Airports Authority Decision to Lay Off 120 Workers Put on Hold

Transportation Min. and the head of Histadrut agree to postpone layoffs in order to coduct 'intensive negotiations'.

Israel Airports Authority on Sunday put on hold its decision to dismiss 120 of its temporary employees after employees facing dismissal staged a debilitating strike last week.

The strike began on Wednesday at the Ben Gurion International Airport. Roughly 500 temporary workers participated in the strike despite a back-to-work order.

Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and the Chairman of the Histadrut labor federation Ofer Eini met Sunday evening and concluded that they would continue negotiations in the coming weeks in an attempt to resolve the layoff dispute in a way that would be agreeable to all sides.

Mofaz and Eini agreed not to go forward with the staff dismissals until the negotiations are completed.

Mofaz and Eini?s decision parallels the National Labor Court?s ruling early Sunday to postpone the dismissals until November 15, in order to allow the two sides to ?conduct intensive negotiations.?

On Thursday, a District Labor Court judge raised a similar suggestion to postpone the layoffs, but was rejected by the International Airports Authority, and the strike continued for another day.

The National Labor Court ruled Sunday morning that the dismissal of the 120 temporary airport workers would have been in accordance with the law and that the behavior of the staff was ?a savage and unjustified strike.?

The Israel Airports Authority, under the leadership of Director-General Gabi Ofir, began to recruit new temporary employees to man the vacated positions at Ben Gurion International airport in the place of those they plan to let go. This is done in order to prevent the existing employees from gaining seniority. In an official statement, The Israel Airports Authority said, ?this is done in order to prepare for the possibility that the temporary workers will walk off the job again.?