Histadrut Threatens Railway Strike

A test drive of the Yerushalayim-Tel Aviv high-speed train, last January. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A strike of railway workers could disrupt service later this month, following formal notification of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) of a labor dispute, according to Globes on Thursday.

The earliest date for a strike to begin would be July 19.

The issue is the privatization of Israel Railways, which the Histadrut claims is being pursued at the expense of the workers. Management acknowledged only that “The substance of the labor dispute involves a claim by the workers’ representatives that one of the company’s infrastructure jobs is being outsourced.”

A source in the workers’ committee was quoted by the paper as saying: “The infrastructure division has not hired more workers in recent years. The young workers who have remained are bearing the burden, while responsibility in these jobs has been doubled and tripled. Instead of hiring maintenance workers, management is hiring more and more managers and administrative staff, while giving maintenance jobs to contractors at double the cost. We demand the creation of more jobs instead of giving work to contractors.”

There was a question as to whether a strike would delay the inauguration of the high-speed Tel Aviv-Yerushalayim route, which has been scheduled just before Sukkos. The workers have dismissed the claim, made by management, asserting that whatever delays are encountered will be due to technical problems in building the system, not labor disputes.