Union Leader Halts TASE Strike

It took the personal intervention of Ofer Eini, leader of the Histadrut labor federation, to reopen the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange yesterday.

"Nobody is showing any leadership and ending this whole disgraceful affair," commented one TASE worker yesterday, as the sanctions by workers entered their fourth week. "What was Eini waiting for? For investors to start leaving Israel? He should have intervened two weeks ago."

Be that as it may, the dispute between the TASE management and workers reached a new low yesterday when the workers shut down the computer systems serving the stock exchange and the clearing houses. Never before has the Tel Aviv exchange been paralyzed by its employees.

In response, the management shut down trading. But after Eini's move, the management reopened the session at 1:15 P.M. Trading lasted until 5:30 P.M. for the first time since the sanctions began. Management had been preempting trouble by ending the day at 2:15 P.M. instead of 5:30.

TASE labor leaders told the workers to walk off at 4 P.M. anyway, because the management refused to approve overtime for the workers. At Eini's urging, TASE CEO Ester Levanon met yesterday with union leader Gershon Gelman, though no real progress was reported. Gelman claims the dispute isn't only over raises, though the workers mean to demand that, too. What the workers want, he says, is for the TASE to directly employ some 80 or 90 people that it indirectly employs through subcontractors.