A strike at the Ashdod port ended Friday afternoon, after management rescinded the suspension of two workers who refused to wear reflective vests, as prescribed by safety guidelines.
Ashdod port employees began a full strike earlier in the day, after halting nearly all activity at the site on Thursday.
Once the suspension of the two union employees was lifted, port workers quickly announced they would get back to work after Shabbat.
The port’s safety commission will convene on Sunday to discuss the matter of the safety vests and their necessity.
On Thursday, the Israel Port Company management decided to cease loading and shipping of containers after a number of port workers, who originally arrived for work wearing the vests, took them off in protest over management procedure, The Marker reported.
According to the port management, an order to wear reflective vests was given in the year 2000 and was prompted by worker safety concerns.
The port workers, on the other hand, claimed that management had surprisingly put the orders into effect without consulting with the employees. The workers asserted that the orders were nonsensical, and suggested that management had attempted to assert its power at the workers’ expense.
“To this day, for years, we have not worn vests. They are uncomfortable overalls and they’re blinding,” Avi Edry, chairman of the Transport Workers Union, told the Marker.
“Someone is trying to flare up the ports,” he added.
Inefficiency at Israel’s state-owned ports costs the economy as much as NIS 5 billion ($1.42 billion) annually, according to a 2009 government report. Some 90% of the country’s imports and exports pass through the Haifa and Ashdod ports.
On Monday, work at the ports was disrupted for nearly an hour because of a dispute over the replacement of a crane.