Israel: Ashdod Port shut down by wildcat strike

Hundreds of port workers yesterday extended disruptions to service to a full wildcat stoppage over pay demands in defiance of bosses and unions.

Submitted by libcom on March 9, 2006

Globes online, an Israeli business news website, carried the following article which illustrates the seeming incredulity of Port bosses at the action:

Ashdod Port operations workers initiated disruptions and sanctions last night in a dispute with management on the workers’ financial demands. Ships cannot be loaded or unloaded as a consequence.

The disruptions and sanction utterly contravene the Ashdod Port workers committee’s commitments to preserve industrial quiet under the ports reform agreement. The sanctions are severely affecting the port’s regular operations, and, most of all, its reputation among its customers.

Shipping Chamber of Israel president Reuven Zuck said, “This is a gross violation of the labor agreements under which the workers committee promised industrial quiet for five years. These sanctions are sending the Ashdod Port back to time that we’d all prefer to forget. It harms the port’s achievements and its opening to international lines and commercial ties with huge shippers.” The Shipping Chamber of Israel today warned shipping agents and companies about operational disruptions at Ashdod Port.

Tensions between Ashdod Port’s management and workers intensified in recent months, and reached a peak yesterday. The operations workers claim that management, headed by Ashdod Port Co. chairperson Iris Stark, is not honoring agreements.

Ashdod Port Company CEO Shuki Sagis said in response, “This morning’s strike is an illegal wildcat strike by the port’s workers, and violates industrial quiet that is basis of the ports reform agreement signed by both the workers and the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel).”