Major Strike Over Teva Firings to Shut Down Gov’t Services, Banks

A Teva Pharmaceutical Industries building is seen in Yerushalayim, Thursday. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

Banks, universities and schools, government offices, ports, insurance companies, courts, local authorities, post offices and all Teva workers will be on strike Sunday to protest the mass layoffs at the pharmaceutical firm. The strike encompasses nearly all public workers and members of the Histadrut, as the union expresses its solidarity with the 1,700 Teva workers who are to be put out of a job.

After repeated appeals by the government, the union decided not to strike the public transportation system, as thousands of IDF soldiers head back to their bases. Israel Railways will also maintain a normal schedule. And students in special education classes will have school as normal.

Ben Gurion Airport will be on strike between 8 a.m. and noon, but in order to prevent excessive inconvenience, the airport has rescheduled nearly all the flights that were to take off during those hours. Most of the flights will be moved up to take off between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., when nearly 60 flights will depart. Airport Authority officials urged passengers set to leave on one of those flights to arrive earlier than usual in order to ensure that they are able to make their flights. Extra staff will be on duty to handle the larger than usual crowds, the Authority said.

After a meeting with company heads, Histadrut head Avi Nissenkorn angrily denounced the company and called for a countrywide strike. “Municipalities, banks, public transportation, health maintenance organizations – all will be shut in solidarity with workers. I am seeing a cold, calculated desire by Teva management to solve its problems by firing workers, and we will not let this happen. We will start work actions Sunday and continue until this problem is solved.”

“Teva received over NIS 22 billion in benefits from the state since 2006,” Nissenkorn added. “The company had no problem taking the money, but now it is turning its back on the state and its citizens. The government cannot stand by and watch silently. Just as it granted Teva the benefits, it must now demand it solve this problem.”