Pi Glilot Workers to Stage Anti-privatization Strike Today

Workers at the Pi Glilot oil refineries in Jerusalem, Ashdod and Beer Sheva will stage a two-hour strike today starting at 10 A.M. during which they will hold protest meetings.

Histadrut Labor Federation chair for energy and communications, David Galnos, called the planned action a "warning strike meant to signal management and the Government Companies Authority of the need to sign a contract guaranteeing a safety net and increased severance pay for Pi Glilot workers prior to its planned privatization."

Galnos said Pi Glilot workers are demanding a guarantee to continue their employment under all possible scenarios, given the company's expected restructuring. The Histadrut declared a work dispute at Pi Glilot in January, and the requisite "cooling off" period barring work actions had passed, Galnos said. "We demanded that management enter negotiations immediately with us, but only preliminary talks have transpired so far, which have produced nothing."

The state has a 50 percent stake in Pi Glilot, with the rest divided among the Paz, Delek and Sonol fuel companies.

The state unsuccessfully tried to sell a stake in the company two years ago, and is working toward a partial sale by the end of this year. However, the Histadrut announced it would try to undermine privatization or any other change should no deal with the workers be made.

"Pi Glilot management is not a party to the dispute that the Histadrut declared," a company official said. He added that instead, "responsibility for handling negotiations with workers' representatives lies with the Government Companies Authority, and as far as it is known, these two sides have started talking."