It is possible that the Israel Railways works committee went too far when it contravened a court order.
But its actions are not occurring in a vacuum, and one can assume that its leaders would not be acting thus unless the workers felt they were being pushed into a corner.
Ostensibly we're talking about failed management and lack of funding that snowballed into safety problems and fatal accidents, and ended with a "revolutionary change" that required urgent outsourcing, and only selfish workers are standing in its way.
What's really happening is that all of the above problems are being exploited to crush the union.
There have been innumerable investigations of the Israel Railways' irresponsible management. Now, at the cost of a billion shekels, management is suddenly conducting a "revolution" that looks strangely like a tender that was fixed for the (controversial ) winner, and whose result is not what was expected.
Now the treasury is painting the workers as the enemies of progress, because they refuse to accept that one of the tender winner's conditions is that its own workers maintain the new rail cars, and not Israel Railways workers.
That's the way it is all over the world, the treasury says. "We are not privatizing and we are not taking on subcontractors," it says.
But when the experts who come to Israel to get the new cars up and running leave the country, they will not be replaced by railways workers, but by new workers, who will be hired by the supplier's local office. Thus maintenance of the rail cars will be privatized, in a quiet and elegant fashion.
The question of how to rehabilitate Israel Railways and turn it from a problematic, cumbersome company to one that is efficient, innovative and flexible is indeed a question, but it is totally divorced from what is happening now.
Because instead of trying to do that, the government knows only to threaten Israel Railways with closure, to raise its fist, to "save" in areas where any country that wants an advanced transportation system knows it has to make long-term investments and, in the end, to pay more than it has to.
So barely a month after 400,000 people shouted on the streets that "The response to privatization is revolution," most train passengers declare their hatred for the IR workers, and refuse to see the connection between the workers' struggle and that call to action.
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