Israel port reform limps on

Industry Database

Israel's National Labour Court has ruled that the government has every right to continue with its plans to introduce two new privately operated ports in both Haifa and Ashdod.

However, in order to do so, it has been ordered to hold talks with the existing workforce in the state-owned ports in those locations.

In the meantime, dock workers at Haifa have openly protested against any possible reform to their industry, instigating an unofficial go slow, while those at Ashdod are working to rule, causing disruption to handling operations.

Port unions are also coming under closer scrutiny.

Alon Hassan, head of the Ashdod port unions, is under investigation for an alleged conflict of interest, which links him with various companies providing services to port customers. Port management has brought in an outside auditing company to look into the scale of the alleged links, which it is being suggested may be much more extensive than originally thought.

Mr Hassan was originally suspended from his duties, although later allowed to back, prompting Finance Minister Yair Lapid to remark, "Organised labour and the protection of workers' rights in Israel should be represented by someone who looks out for the good of the workers, not his personal benefit." 

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