Airport Workers Won’t Strike – But at What Price?

YERUSHALAYIM -
Brussels Airlines flights cancelled at the Ben Gurion International Airport following this morning's terror attack in Brussels, Belgium. At least 26 people were killed and many seriously injured in terrorist attacks at Brussels international airport and a city metro station. March 22, 2016. Photo by FLASH90 *** Local Caption *** שדה בריסל בלגיה פיגוע טיסה מטוס
Ben Gurion International Airport. (Flash90)

As a “reward” for not following through on a threat to strike during the busy summer travel season, workers at Ben Gurion Airport are set to receive a package of benefits, Channel Two reported Wednesday. According to the deal struck with unions representing the workers, each employee is set to receive a bonus salary each year for the next two years. Workers will also receive a special bonus of NIS 1,500 for every million passengers who pass through Ben Gurion Airport.

In addition, the government has promised not to touch workers’ pensions, a large fund that budget cutters had been eyeing. Fifty workers will receive tenure, making it next to impossible to fire them unless they commit a felony. And, fifty temporary contract workers will be given full-time, union jobs. The total cost of the package is $87 million.

The package comes after attempts by the government to head in the opposite direction, by cutting NIS 2 billion from the budget of the Airports Authority. Last week, the Authority signed a contract with a private business that will help them set up a new cart system which requires passengers to pay for use of luggage carts. The move will enable the Authority to get rid of dozens of contract workers whose job is to collect the currently free carts that are used by passengers, and return them to cart bays.

Similar to the system at supermarkets, where customers insert five shekels into a slot to release a shopping cart and get their money back when they return it, travelers will leave a deposit of ten shekels for each luggage cart they borrow. Instead of using coins, however, the deposit will be paid via credit card – and the money refunded the same way, when the cart is returned within several hours.