El Al Efficiency Drive Targets Working Mothers

In efforts to cut costs, El Al Israel Airlines is targeting working mothers employed by the company.

Given the airline's poor financial results this year, the rise in fuel prices, and increased competition, the company published an earnings warning last week.

El Al said it expects to finish the 2006 fiscal year with a loss.

TheMarker learned yesterday that the company's management has decided to let working mothers leave home at 1:00 P.M. during the summer subject to receiving their superiors' approval.

However, the time will be counted as vacation. In addition, all workers will be forced to take vacation from August 20 to 31.

Another planned cutback is the cutting of unprofitable routes.

According to a plan being formulated by CEO Haim Romano, expenses will be cut nearly across the board, including fees paid for airplane transit and various rental fees.

Managers have been asked to examine every expense item for possible cuts.

"As part of the steps taken to improve results, El Al has approved the request of working mothers, and decided to allow those who wish to leave early during the summer vacation to do so," the company said. "This is a completely voluntary move that does not include any worker who does not want to."

El Al also said that they view the mutual decision as a healthy and normal part of relations between workers and management.

Pilots, stewards to get more for long haul

Despite the cutbacks, pilots and stewards on long-haul flights to the United States will receive a special pay increase to compensate them for shorter stays at their destinations, TheMarker has learned.

The additional payments were agreed upon as part of two new wage pacts signed last week between the pilots, stewards, management and the Histadrut Labor Federation.

The agreements will take effect retroactively from the beginning of July, and will become part of new collective wage agreements expected to be signed later this week between El Al and the Histadrut.

As part of the accords, employees will give up any new wage increase demands until the end of 2007.