Israel Post Workers to Increase Sanctions

Postal services will be disrupted again today, as Israel Post employees demonstrate near the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem against the cabinet's expected decision on postal rates. Yesterday, workers closed down all post offices at noon, including the Postal Bank, in order to hold informational meetings.

In addition to the demonstration, various sanctions that started before the Passover holiday will continue today: the shutdown of the mobile post serving the periphery and agricultural settlements; the halting of messenger services; and the halt of mail to diplomatic missions. Payments to government authorities and ministries, such as the Tax Authority and the National Insurance Institute, will also not be accepted.

The employees are protesting the state's plan to block the Israel Post from lowering its rates. The government fears the company is trying to undercut competition on certain services in order to maintain its monopoly. In addition, there are problems related to the financing of employee pensions. The employees say that if the Israel Post is not allowed to lower prices to compete, it will have to fire workers. The union claims 1,000 of the 4,500 workers will lose their jobs if the cabinet does not change its decision.

The postal employees are planning additional sanctions starting next Sunday.

The Histadrut Labor Federation has authorized the sanctions. Israel Post's spokeswoman said: "We regret the harm to public service, and will make every effort to discuss the future of the company with the cabinet, in light of the new price policy."