Under New Leader, Histadrut Declares Five Work Disputes

The Histadrut Labor Federation yesterday declared five labor disputes, the group's first such action since Ofer Eini took over as chairman on January 1.

The disputes cover the Dan bus cooperative, Haifa's government offices, the Ashkelon area fire services, the Ramat Gan municipality, and the Beit Levinstein hospital.

The Histadrut also announced its support for work sanctions at the Israel Lands Administration that started in May 2005.

Following yesterday's declarations, organization workers will be allowed to strike or undertake work sanctions after a 14-day period.

Salaried drivers at the Dan company started interfering with bus traffic two days ago, without awaiting the two-week, cooling-off period.

Meanwhile in an ongoing dispute at Israel Discount Bank, management has decided to stage a counter-strike and lock out staff from all of its branches across the country in response to the union's decision to hold an "informational assembly" for 5,000 employees during the day.

The workers' committee decided to hold the meeting as part of its actions against mangement after the stalling of negotiations over a new work agreement.

The union is demanding bonuses, while management has offered workers over the age of 50 with early retirement or voluntary severance packages. The union said management action was taken without its knowledge and against Discount's work practices.

In response, management ordered employees not to report today for work either at the bank's branches or at headquarters, and announced they would not be paid for the day.

The assembly is scheduled to take place at the Tel Aviv convention center in the morning and last two hours.