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Alliance Tire Factory Workers Stage Raucous Demonstrations

July 11, 1988
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Security guards, bolstered by a large police force, took up positions around the bankrupt Alliance tire factory in Hadera on Sunday to prevent violence between striking workers encamped outside and some 200 managers and supervisors in the plant.

Sunday was the deadline set by a Tel Aviv district court for the official receiver, Amram Blum, to liquidate the ailing business, unless the strikers returned to their jobs.

The 1,100 employees have refused to work under Blum, who has proposed to dismiss 20 percent of the work force and cut the wages of those remaining by 15 percent.

The strikers staged raucous demonstrations all over the country last week to protest the receiver’s plans. Hundreds of them, with their families, set up camp outside the factory over the weekend.

Police unrolled barbed wire around the perimeter fence to keep the strikers away from the plant, while about 200 managerial staff and foremen were bused in under heavy guard to try to start the production line.

They proved to be too few for the job. By noon, police were attempting to extricate them from the factory, while the strikers outside demanded that the “scabs” be forced to remain in the besieged building.

The confrontation has an ironic twist. The striking workers are members of Histadrut, Israel’s trade union federation. The Alliance Tire Co. is owned by Koor Industries, a giant holding company owned by Histadrut.

koor, which last week reported a $250 million loss for 1987, put the money-losing Alliance factory into receivership. It is trying to sell off or liquidate those of its nearly 300 enterprises that consistently fail to pay their way and must be bailed out by the profitable members of the conglomerate.

The Alliance factory has had severe operating losses because of labor strife and a falling off of orders. But liquidation will mean a loss of more than 1,000 jobs, most of them in Hadera. The town’s economy has depended to a large extent on the tire factory.

Histadrut Secretary-General Yisrael Kessar met Sunday with the heads of Koor and Hevrat Haovdim, Histadrut’s economic and financial holding company, to try to find a way out of the impasse.

During the past month, Koor has divested itself of two other troubled companies in which it held controlling interest. It sold 70 percent of it shares in Yuval Gad, which manufactures prefabricated homes, and 50 percent of its holdings in the Tambour paint factory.

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