Over 2,000 Protest Mass Lay-offs in Be'er Sheva

Factory workers and residents block central streets in protest of ICL firing hundreds of workers, shutting down city services.

Yishai Karov, Ari Yashar ,

Be'er Sheva protest
Be'er Sheva protest
Histadrut labor union spokesperson

Responding to mass lay-offs delivered suddenly to the homes of hundreds of workers at Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL), around 2,000 workers and residents from the Negev protested on Tuesday morning in Be'er Sheva, blocking central roads.

The protest comes as part of a series of protests against the poor employment situation in the south, and in particular focuses on the intentions to fire hundreds of ICL workers.

ICL management has said it wants to lay off 450 Dead Sea factory workers and 270 Tirkovot Brom factory workers in the next two years, or at least force them into early pension. ICL has said it is doing so due to a lack of demand for the products.

The Histadrut labor union is trying to step up the protests so as to save the workers' jobs.

As in the protest the day before in Arad, workers from the two ICL factories, along with Be'er Sheva municipal workers accompanied by other factory workers and residents and family members took to the streets.

A day before, on Monday, a protest temporarily shut down city services in Arad, after a similar demonstration was held in the southern city of Dimona on Sunday.

As a result of the protest on Tuesday, the municipal services in Be'er Sheva are on strike until 12 p.m., other than the educational system.