Union: Airport Cargo Workers Will Strike Before Taking Cuts
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.