IMI Workers Face Loss of Pension Rights

The Mivtachim pension fund informed employees of Israel Military Industries this week that their pension rights are in danger, because the company's management has not been transferring the regular monthly payments needed to preserve their rights.

Management has also not made contributions to the workers' advanced training fund (keren hishtalmut) or their dental insurance plans for several months.

In addition, the company's 2,900 employees have still not received their June salaries, which were supposed to have been paid last Sunday, nor have some 1,200 retirees received their pension payments, which were supposed to be made on July 1.

Adding insult to injury, IMI's management announced yesterday that as of this Sunday, workers will no longer even receive sandwiches for lunch.

The company began supplying the sandwiches a few weeks ago when it stopped providing hot lunches, which up till then had been the norm.

This Sunday, the IMI pensioners' association plans to file suit against the company and the state, which owns it, over their unpaid pensions. The suit will argue that the nonpayment violates the Wage Protection Law, which obligates companies to pay their employees on time.

Yitzhak Yehuda, chair of the IMI workers' committee, said that the delayed salary payments are causing problems for many workers, but the union is unable to help, because the money in the joint worker-management loan fund has been completely used up.

The Finance Ministry has agreed in principle to give the company a cash injection, but only if it implements a recovery plan that will include firing some 500 people and reducing the remaining employees' salaries. The workers' committee vehemently opposes this proposal.