El Al Workers Vote Overwhelmingly in Favor of Calling Official Labor Dispute

El Al employees overwhelmingly voted for a fight with management, as about 80 percent of all workers approved an official labor dispute at the airline.

The workers are protesting the management's attempt to cancel the collective bargaining agreement. The figures show that well over the 70 percent of the 6,000 workers required to vote in favor did so, according to internal union estimates TheMarker obtained.

The workers' representatives are now allowed to petition the Histadrut labor federation for the declaration of an official labor dispute; and after the announcement and a two-week cooling off period the union can start sanctions against the airline.

The union has decided to continue voting for another week, even though the necessary number of workers has already voted, in order to reach at least 90 percent approval. Almost 100 percent of the pilots, technicians and ground workers have voted; but many of the 1,100 stewards' votes have been delayed since many of them spend prolonged periods overseas and have been unable to vote in Israel. The voting procedure requires sealed and signed ballots to be officially certified - and the union does not want to allow management the slightest opportunity for challenging the vote.

Delta Airlines revealed information about Israelis' use of their Internet site for the first time. Josh Weiss, the managing director of Delta's online ticketing and Internet site, delta.com, and the manager of self-service for the airline, disclosed that Israelis recorded 50,467 visits to the site in the first quarter of 2007. The information is based on the visitors' IP addresses.

The main destinations for which Israelis purchased tickets on the site were San Diego, Miami, Seattle, Atlanta, Los Vegas and San Francisco.

In the opposite direction, the cities of departure for which the most tickets to Israel were purchased were: Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Newark.

Travelers purchased tickets to Israel from a wide range of countries on Delta's Web site including: China, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark and France.

About 10 million tickets were sold on delta.com in 2006.

While the purchase of tickets and other services is available in six languages, this does not include Hebrew. However, it is now possible to read news on the site in Hebrew, in addition to four other languages of countries Delta flies to: Ukraine, Denmark, Greece and Hungary.

In other aviation news, Tamir Aviation stopped their regular service to Rosh Pina and Kiryat Shmona last Friday. Tamir, the sole operator of the internal aviation franchise to the North of the country, took the step in response to what it calls "the Transportation Ministry's criminal negligence," and the ministry's non-fulfillment of its responsibilities for the tender for the routes.

The main problem is the monetary demands of the airport operator in Kiryat Shmona, Victor Hajaj. The matter will be heard by the High Court of Justice this month.

The ministry places the blame for the cancelation of the flights on Tamir and claims that all the ministry's attempts to mediate have failed.