Discount Labor Dispute Dims Central Computer in Tel Aviv

Israel Discount Bank employees launched sanctions yesterday, suspending operation of the central computer at the bank in Tel Aviv. Disruptions are expected in services to customers as a result.

The decision to impose sanctions was made by the head of Discount's labor union, Riky Bachar, following an all-night meeting with the bank's V.P. for human resources, Amnon Gidon, attended by the head of the bank employees' section of the Histadrut labor federation, Zion Shema. The parties failed to reach an agreement.

The Histadrut declared a works dispute in Discount two weeks ago, at the request of the bank's union, over management's decision to lengthen bank hours in many branches to 8 P.M.

The labor union said, "It is not reasonable to increase the number of working hours without consulting with us, and without ensuring financial compensation to the employees who will remain at work for longer hours at the branches."

Thus, said the union, escalation in bank labor relations was to be expected, adding, "We are unable to reach an understanding with the management. It thinks that Discount employees are slaves."

Discount employees say lengthened operating hours in the branches and their employment for unusual hours substantially violates their terms of employment. And that opening branches till 8 P.M. will result in the hiring of employees under personal contracts, jeopardizing the power of permanent employees and of the union.

In response Discount management said: "The labor union is making every effort to disrupt work at the bank. The union did the same thing during the recent war in the North, and is doing so again today, as competition between the banks for every customer is growing, and while management is doing everything to provide customers with the best services possible."

The management added that the computer system is operating on a part-time, weekend level.