Dan Bus Drivers Stage Strike After Talks With Management Reach Impasse

Commuters asked to disembark buses due to unannounced strike; drivers ask for double-digit hike in wages.

Some 1,250 Dan bus company drivers on Tuesday went on an unannounced and unlimited strike after talks with management over a new collective contract reached an impasse.

As a result of the unexpected strike, commuters lined up the streets in Tel Aviv trying to board Egged buses and taxis, while passengers who had already boarded Dan transports were asked to disembark.

The strike was called after Dan bus drivers' union head, Dudi Yunger, Histadrut labor union Tel Aviv area chief, Gershon Gelman and Dan Director-General Refal Shmueli failed to reach an agreement over the bus drivers' pay-rise.

According to company sources, bus drivers are asking for a double digit raise while management is willing to conceed less than 10 percent, in addition to an early retirement plan with improved conditions.

"Bus drivers' salaries have not risen over the past five years and under the new agreement its time to rectify the injustice," a bus driver source said.

According to Dan drivers, their wages had been reduced when Dan changed from being a co-operative into a privately held company.

Dan management have begun to hire retired bus drivers and other staff in an attempt to resume operations despite the strike.

Management mulled filing a petition with the Tel Aviv Labor Court asking it issued a warrant against the bus drivers and Histadrut, requiring them to end the strike and resume talks.

"Drivers' actions are unexplainable," A Dan spokesperson said. "Just yesterday morning we reached an agreement with Gelman over the deal's key issues. These aren't starved workers, they make between NIS 5,000 to 12,000 a month."