Airport Strikes, Contract Workers Continue to Work

The Histadrut launched a general strike to help contract workers, but it was those contract workers who actually had to report to work.

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Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski,

Contract workers reported to work as usual
Contract workers reported to work as usual
Israel news photo: Yoni Kempinski

Arutz Sheva visited the Ben Gurion Airport early Wednesday morning, shortly after the Histadrut labor federation launched a general strike after failing to reach an agreement with the Treasury regarding the employment conditions of contract workers.

The airport was also affected by the strike, though only for a few hours as flights out of the airport were canceled from 6:00 a.m. until noon, when the airport resumed regular activities. The airport staff was able to act quickly and have some flights leave earlier or be postponed, thus avoiding having angry passengers arriving for their flight, only to find out that it has been delayed or cancelled, and also avoidind the long line-ups which form as people wait for their plane.

Most of the passengers who did not check ahead of time and arrived for their postponed flight were not too upset about the delay.

“Personally, I think that if there’s an issue that needs to be resolved with labor then it needs to be resolved, and if a strike is the last resort and the best way to deal with that, then so be it,” said David, a passenger whose flight was delayed, said.

Ironically enough, the airport employees who did show up for work on Wednesday morning were those same contract workers for whom the Histadrut is fighting.

Most of the contract workers refused to speak directly to the camera out of fear of losing their jobs. Some of them did, however, tell Arutz Sheva that they had no choice other than to come to work, despite the strike, because their bosses had warned them that failure to report to work will cost them their jobs.

One worker said that the problem was not with the employers but with the government.

“We have good managers and everything, and they aren’t the ones who aren’t providing us with the proper employment conditions,” she said. “It’s the State that needs to do something about this.”