El Al Workers Warn of Contract Strike

Employees of El Al are threatening labor sanctions, up to and including the disruption of flights, unless the airline's board of directors gives its approval today to a new contract recently signed by management and the Histadrut Labor Federation.

Union representatives are also refusing to enter into accelerated negotiations with management over the implementation of a recovery program for El Al until the new work agreement, which runs until the end of 2007, is approved. This refusal comes despite a memorandum of understanding attached to the contract that mandates such negotiations, as well as a freeze on salaries and benefits at their current levels.

According to the terms of the new labor contract, if El Al's 2006 profits exceed $10 million, workers will receive a 3 percent salary bonus. However, the chances of this happening are slim: The airline is likely to end the year in the red, and it has issued a profit warning to this effect.

El Al's management issued the following response yesterday to reports of the threat of labor sanctions: "There has been no such thing."