Beinleumi Cancels Ceremony on Middle Management Boycott

The annual balance-sheet rites of the First International Bank of Israel (Beinleumi) have been scuttled by a middle-management rebellion.

The ceremony, at which the top management was to present the bank's balance sheet for 2009, had been scheduled for Thursday. This year's ceremonial presentation, which was to have featured dinner and entertainment at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds, at a projected cost of a quarter-million shekels, was shot down by a middle-management boycott.

Midlevel executives, including branch managers and the like, were directed by their union to forgo the event to protest the failure to reach an accord on their bonuses for 2009.

The bank's controlling shareholder, Zadik Bino, had been slated to attend, as had CEO Smadar Berber-Tzadik. On the eve of the Passover holiday, representatives of top management tried to persuade the union chiefs to roll back the boycott, to no avail.

Yona Goldschlager, chairman of the union of middle management and signatories, confirmed that the decision to boycott the evening was a result of the lack of agreement on bonuses.

"The year 2009 was a good one for Beinleumi," Goldschlager said. "It recorded net profit of NIS 568 million. The owners already took a dividend of NIS 800 million for themselves and they're offering us crumbs. We won't back down. We will escalate the struggle."

In addition to the bonuses the union is demanding more management positions, to ease workloads, Goldschlager said.

The union has also blocked the integration of Bank Otsar Hahayal, which Beinleumi bought from Bank Hapoalim three years ago, into Beinleumi's central computer system.