Clubmarket Workers Fight Store Closures

Employees of the Clubmarket supermarket chain have asked the Histadrut for permission to declare a labor dispute due to what they say are management's plans to close six-to-10 stores, fire 60 workers, and cut the pay of an additional 110.

If the Histadrut approves their request, they will be able to declare a strike 14 days later. Altogether, Clubmarket employs 3,700 workers at 117 stores.

Workers' Committee Chair Albert Asor said the employees are also upset by the chain's recent trend of transferring certain supermarket departments, such as produce or meat, to franchisees, meaning that those departments' workers are employed by the franchisee rather than by Clubmarket. This violates Clubmarket's collective labor agreement, he said. Negotiations thus far have failed to resolve either issue, he said.

Clubmarket's management said it began negotiations with the workers "in order to involve them in any decisions that might be made. We will continue to act fairly and transparently, in full cooperation with the [workers'] committee. All steps will be taken in accordance with the agreements reached with it. We hope the committee will be wise enough to return to the negotiating table."