Discount Branches to Shut Down Today

Israel Discount Bank workers plan to shut down more than half of the bank's branches across the country today in a continuation of their strike actions against management. Half the branches were closed on Friday.

The Discount Bank workers committee, headed by Ricky Bachar, is to meet today with legal adviser Beni Cohen to decide how to continue waging the struggle and to even expand activities. Bachar said he would propose that employees act to delay the closing of the bank's sale to the Bronfman consortium, which is expected to take place soon.

"I intend to meet with Finance Minister Ehud Olmert to explain to him that there's no place for closing the deal as long as there's a labor dispute at the bank and contacts between the committee and CEO Giora Ofer are cut off," Bachar said last night.

Each Discount Bank employee is to receive a one-time bonus of NIS 40,000 to NIS 50,000 upon closing of the deal. However, the committee has been arguing with management over the calculation of the bonus. The two sides have also been fighting over the salary bonus for workers for the period 2004-2006 and a one-time bonus workers are to receive for the company's positive results in 2004. The two-week dispute has witnessed ongoing strikes and slowdowns.