Protesting Workers Block Broadcasts at Several State-run Radio Stations

Broadcasts of various state-run Israel Broadcast Authority radio stations suffered major disruptions yesterday due to labor sanctions by radio technicians and a joint workers' committee over the requirement that employees punch a time clock.

Reshet Gimel studio Archive: Ouria Tadmor / Jini
Archive: Ouria Tadmor / Jini

Classical music station Kol Hamusica went off the air yesterday afternoon, and all other stations run by state broadcaster Israel Radio were expected to be off the air shortly after midnight. At 10 P.M., Reshet Gimel and Reshet Bet were scheduled to begin simultaneous broadcast of the same programs.

The sanctions were expected to lead to the cancellation of a radio broadcast of a memorial ceremony for Elad Rivan, the 16-year-old volunteer firefighter who died in last month's Carmel Forest blaze, as well as the scrapping of live coverage of a soccer game between Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The dispute over the time clock involves the technicians and employees represented by a combined workers' committee, neither of which have signed new wage agreements with management. The combined committee represents administrative personnel as well as broadcast support staff.

Radio management said the requirement that these employees punch a time clock and that they not be paid overtime are the result of a directive from the Finance Ministry's wage director. Current staffing levels do not allow broadcast of a full program schedule without overtime, however. The sanctions may also affect Channel 1 television broadcasts.