Haifa Chemicals lays off 1,200 workers

Lack of raw materials forces Haifa Chemicals to furlough employees, with mass layoffs expected.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Ammonia factory
Ammonia factory

Haifa Chemicals has furloughed some 1,200 factory workers, the first step before a wave of layoffs expected as the company mulls the closure of one of its factories.

According to Haifa Chemicals, the forced vacation is a result of a lack of raw materials ahead of the company's court-imposed deadline for emptying the ammonia tanks.

"Until we find a solution for the crisis, the workers will not return to their jobs," said Yehuda Peretz, who directs the company's Southern Workers' Committee. "We are waiting for the Supreme Court's decision."

According to Haifa mayor Yona Yahav, Haifa Chemicals is ignoring both the state and the court's opposition to such installations, and added "we will continue to fight them in order to protect our residents."

Last month, the Supreme Court decided that no more ammonia ships would enter the Haifa port. The court emphasized that Haifa Chemicals - which had promised previously that it would follow the court's orders - was not doing so. Holding a permit to work with poisonous materials is not equivalent to holding a building permit and business license, the court explained.

Haifa Chemicals was ordered by Israel's Supreme Court to empty the ammonia tank by July 31.

On Thursday, the Haifa municipality issued a restraining order against Haifa Chemicals after it started construction of new installations for ships carrying ammonia.