Bank Leumi Staff to Strike All Branches From 11 A.M. Sunday

All 200 branches of Bank Leumi will be closed at 11 A.M. Sunday in protest at the forthcoming sale of the state's controlling stake in the bank, the workers' union headed by Louis Roth decided yesterday.

Leumi management complained about the action, both because it would hamper bank customers as it comes only one day before the New Year holiday and because a meeting has already been scheduled for Sunday between the workers and management to attempt to resolve the dispute.

Sunday's strike, which has been approved by the Histadrut labor federation, is an escalation of the staff's industrial action, which has included striking Leumi's online services, partial strike of the telemarketing division and not delivering internal mail. The staffers are demanding a one-off bonus of NIS 40,000-50,000 each when the bank is privatized; a guarantee that their collective work agreements will continue for at least five years; and 6 percent of the bank's shares at preferred rates. "The union's objective is to protect the rights of 10,000 bank workers," Roth said yesterday.