Jerusalem Light Rail on Strike

Employees, Histadrut accuse Light Rail management of 'bullying tactics'; Egged to increase bus service for the strike's duration.

Shlomo Pitrikovsky , | updated: 10:09 AM

Light Rail (illustration)
Light Rail (illustration)
Flash 90

Employees of the Jerusalem Light Rail and the Histadrut (Labor union - ed.) are on strike Sunday morning, due to disagreements between management and the employee's union. 

"This is thuggish behavior which is only done for tactical reasons and significantly affects the daily life in the city at the public's expense," a representative for the Light Rail released in a statement. 

"We intend to use all means at our disposal [to stop the strike]- including the request for an injunction that would require them to return to work and appeal to the Israeli police," it added. 

The chairman of the Histadrut in Jerusalem, Danny Bonfil, responded that the Light Rail management has been accused of terrifying its own employees into submission and employee bullying. 

"The workers showed up full-time work but management is the one who chose to modify unilaterally, and without consulting workers' representatives, its work procedures, maps, and the frequency of the trains," Bonfil said. 

"The claim that this was done to improve service, does not correspond with the fact that the management carried out the process and how it did so, which created a safety hazard to employees and passengers," he added. "I call on the light rail to restore order, undo the changes immediately and to examine the measures in cooperation with the Board and employees." 

"The decision was unilateral," Nadel Atrash, the chairman of the Light Rail employees' union, stated to Walla! News Sunday. "Management stopped giving drivers breaks, and we're not willing to participate in this crime." 

"The Light Rail transports 500 people at every station, and we are talking about a security issue here," he added. "If management requires us to space the trains out at six minutes apart, that should not be on the driver's time. A tired driver is a dangerous driver." 

To accommodate the strike, Egged has increased bus service Sunday; bus lines 20, 21, 24, and 27 will now run to the Central Bus Station. Bus lines which typically use "shorter" buses will also use the longer bus variety (two cars instead of one - ed.) in anticipation of a spike in bus transportation.