Dead Sea Works Employees Flex Muscles, Get Bonus

More than two months of labor sanctions paid off: All Dead Sea Works employees - permanent and temporary - will be receiving a one-time bonus averaging NIS 55,333.

The grant is part of an agreement signed by the worker's committee, the Negev branch of the Histadrut labor federation and the Dead Sea Works management on Sunday.

The workers declared a dispute after the management of Israel Chemicals, which owns Dead Sea Works, refused their demand that the workers receive a one-time bonus due to the fact that the company's profits were not harmed by the financial crisis.

The worker's committee made the demand after Israel Chemicals' board approved NIS 200 million in options for 300 managers.

Under the agreement with the workers, the company will distribute NIS 103 million to the workers. Of that, NIS 83 million will be paid to them directly. The other NIS 20 million will be used to fund things such as trips, parties and loans for employees.

Workers who are deemed to have contributed more to the company may get bonuses approaching NIS 100,000, while those who have contributed less than average may receive less than NIS 30,000.

Plus, the bonus will not come at the expense of raises that the workers are expected to receive under a new collective agreement.

Meanwhile, the Negev Histadrut accepted a request on Sunday by workers at Makhteshim Agan, of the IDB group, to declare a labor dispute at the factory.

The dispute was declared after the management announced it might cut the salaries of 470 workers by 6%, because the company's profits dropped in 2009, and the outlook for 2010 isn't much better.