Israel: electricity workers take action against privatisation

Workers at the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) have been taking strike and sabotage action against electricity market reform.

Submitted by libcom on September 17, 2006

Workers halted the unloading of coal from IEC ships and prevented the removal of ash from power stations, likely to paraylze coal fired stations within 3-4 days. They also cut management off from computer, telephone and electricity services and blocked offices in what has been a series of activities designed to disrupt the company's activities using "all legal means". No bills have been sent out since the beginning of the action, hitting revenue and preventing low-income customers from being cut off.

If the workers successfully shut down the coal stations, IEC will be restricted to generating electricity using crude oil, for which it has only ten days of stock - leading to a possible collapse of Israel's power system within two weeks should the action continue.

IEC workers told Globes Israeli business news online: "The cabinet approval to reform IEC was our green light to launch the struggle using every legal means. We’ll first act against the company and its management, which is our primary target. This morning, we decided to hurt management’s activities, in part to prevent them from petitioning the courts."

“We’re pursuing actions to protect the electricity market from the expected catastrophe from the collapse of the electricity grid that the government’s reform decision will bring about. I regret to say, but the Ministry of Finance is obsessed with privatizing everything that moves regardless of any benefit derived from the measure. I suggest that the Ministry of Finance listen to the experts before it’s too late.”

IEC is expected to take out an injunction against the workers, but a spokesman for the workers stated they would work to rule if necessary to continue the action.