Daily Israel Report

Dimona Nuclear Plant Workers Back on the Job - For Now

After 2 days of work sanctions, workers at the Dimona nuclear plant agreed to return to their jobs, after top officials cited risk to the plant.
By David Lev
First Publish: 6/28/2011, 11:04 PM / Last Update: 6/29/2011, 2:12 AM

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After two days carrying out work sanctions, workers at the Dimona nuclear plant agreed Tuesday to return to their jobs, after receiving a letter from top officials saying that the sanctions could potentially damage the plant, Channel 10 reported. The workers have agreed to halt sanctions – for the time being, union officials said.

Workers began their sanctions on Sunday, as they demanded raises and better working conditions in upcoming contract negotiations. Workers blocked the main access road to the site on Sunday, keeping out suppliers and outside contractors who had come to work on specific projects. Dozens of trucks and vehicles lined the highway outside the facility's compound, eventually turning back the way they came.

The letter from Dimona director, retired IDF General Udi Adam, said that he and the site's management “were sorry that you were using sanctions and strikes to achieve your goals, as they are damaging to the proper operation of the nuclear research facility. If there are any difficulties I would seek to resolve them through negotiations.”

In the letter, Adam hinted that management would take over the running of the facility if sanctions continued. “Management is responsible for the research facility,” he wrote, “and in any case of sanctions, work stoppages or strikes, management will operate according to procedures required for the safety and continued operation of the facility.”

Negotiations between workers and the government have been ongoing for months. The workers are demanding that their salaries and work conditions be raised to the same level as researchers in the Dimona plant. They have rejected a number of Treasury offers. Union officials said that while they were ending the sanctions for now, they would return to sanctions by next week if progress was not made in the negotiations.