Labor Court Concludes Hearing Case Against Bank Strike

Workers to shut down sector Sun. over plan to implement Bachar Commission findings on market reforms.

The National Labor Court held a hearing Saturday evening after bank union requested that restraining orders be issued against bank employee unions who are threatening to launch a strike Sunday.

Some 40,000 bank employees plan to strike over the government's intention to implement the Bachar Commission report on market reforms. The commission's recommendations will be introduced in a bill which is set for presentation in a first reading in the Knesset next month.

At the hearing Saturday evening the Labor Court judges suggested that State representatives hold talks with both parties and examine the effects of the bank and capital market reform on bank employees.

Judge Nili Arad said the it is unacceptable that both the State and banks turn their backs on the bank employees. Judge Elisheva Barak said that when the State performs structural changes in a sector in the economy it becomes a party to the interaction between the management and employees in that sector.

A senior official at the Finance Ministry said it is impossible to tell how the reform would affect the employees and clarified that those who pushed for the implementation of the reform were thinking of capital market players and not on the bank employees.

Bank representatives said they object to the implementation of the Bachar Commission findings like the employees. But they called the employees' actions a "mega political strike," adding that its scope was excessive.

In the event workers are allowed to strike, all banks will be closed Sunday and internet service will not operate. In addition, workers will not refill cash dispensers. There will be no trading in the Israel Stock Exchange.