Labor Dispute Over Ports Averted for Now

YERUSHALAYIM -

“Jaw, jaw is better than war, war,” said Winston Churchill, a political hero of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the latter seemed to be following that advice in dealing with a potential war with the powerful Histadrut national labor federation this week.

Netanyahu and Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini met for an hour on Sunday evening and agreed that more talks were a good idea.

This means that the Histadrut will hold off on threats to launch a general strike over the government decision to engage private companies to build ports in Ashdod and Haifa without prior consultations with the unions.

The Prime Minister’s Office director-general Harel Locker and Histadrut Trade Union Division chairman Avi Nissenkoren were slated to meet later this week to search for a peaceful resolution. Then, Netanyahu and Eini will meet again.

Netanyahu, Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Economic Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett all recently indulged in statements virtually daring the Histadrut to fight their plans for a more efficient and competitive ports system. The prime minister’s reported invitation to Eini to join him for discussion on Sunday, just as Eini was preparing to hold a press conference taking on the dare, signaled a step back from the brink.