There could be trouble down the road for travelers who use Ben Gurion Airport, both for flights and for cargo shipments. The unions representing some 500 cargo workers – who handle commercial lifts, as well as luggage – said that they would not accept a reduction in their benefits, or a mass firing, when a new company takes over the cargo contract at the airport next year.
The Airports Authority has issued a tender for a new contract to handle the cargo at the airport, as the current contract with the company than now has the job – Maman – winds down. According to the unions, the Authority's tender would require any company that takes the contract to either fire workers, or drastically reduce their salaries – with the average cargo workers at the airport age 45 and older, earning just NIS 7,900 a month.
The tender is for ten years, but according to workers, the only way a company would be able to make a profit based on the conditions offered by the Authority would be by “slashing and burning” their way through workers' contracts.
The union has not yet called a work dispute, as the tender is still open for several months (Maman's contact expires in March 2014), but representatives said that work actions were a “definite possibility,” and would like come at “very inconvenient times,” if the Authority did not take their situation into consideration.