New Labor Disputes Erupt

A new eruption of labor disputes forced the shutdown of the petrochemical industry’s plant in the Haifa Bay area this morning. A brief closure of the oil port at Ashdod took place over what the head of the local port workers’ union considered a personal insult.

In Haifa, 450 petrochemical workers who have been on a work slowdown in a dispute over wages were furloughed indefinitely by management. The workers disregarded a Labor Court order to resume their normal work routine. Last week they blocked shipments of products out of the Haifa plant. Management shut the plant down today and said it might sue the employees for damages.

The dispute, which is not supported by Histadrut, began when management declined to pay the workers production bonuses called for in their contract when production exceeds an agreed quota. The management claimed that production at the plant dropped because of large decline in orders and there was no production above quotas.

At Ashdod Port, Yehoshua Peretz, the local port union leader, called a three-hour strike because he was asked for identification by a policeman guarding the dock gates. He claimed the incident was an insult to himself and all the port workers. After an exchange of vituperative messages between Peretz and Aharon Remez, director general of the Ashdod Port Authority, the latter filed a criminal complaint against the union leader.

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