Take-offs Renewed After Workers' Strike at Ben-Gurion Airport

Workers had also shut down Eilat airport; Transportation Minister Mofaz says strike was 'brutal; measure.

Outgoing flights from Ben-Gurion International Airport ground to a halt for two hours on Tuesday afternoon when airport workers stepped up a work dispute and stopped loading luggage onto planes.

Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz condemned the strike, saying it was an unwarranted and "brutal" measure taken by the workers.

Earlier Tuesday, Eilat Airports Authority workers temporarily went on strike paralyzing all flights from the southern resort city for a number of hours.

According to a government decision on the matter, the Arkia Airline ceased to provide security guards and staff to carry out pre-check in security inspections at the beginning of May, and the contract was given to another airline company.

The provision of the service became the responsibility of the Airports Authority, but the Authority then issued tenders to outsource some of the services to private manpower companies.

The chairman of the general workers association at the Airports Authority, Pincas Idan, said Monday that the Authority management had recruited the shift leaders who had formerly worked for Arkia, but the rest of the staff had been taken on by a manpower company.

Idan expressed his opposition to the use of outsourced staff by the Airports Authority, and to the discrimination over terms of employment they experienced compared to permanent Authority staff.

The Authority management warned the chairman of the workers association that it would seek a back to work order for striking staff.

In response to Idan's accusations of discrimination, the Authority said that the outsource staff "receive an elevated salary, they receive all the social benefits required by law, as well as other good conditions."