Postal services on hold as employees strike

Postal services on hold as employees strike

Israel Postal Company workers urge management to call off decision to lay off 1,500 people as part of efficiency program; region near Gaza unaffected

Illustrative photo of workers from the Israel Postal Company protesting outside the Postal Company headquarters in Tel Aviv (photo credit: Roni Schutzer/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of workers from the Israel Postal Company protesting outside the Postal Company headquarters in Tel Aviv (photo credit: Roni Schutzer/Flash90)

Israel Postal Company employees are set to begin an open-ended strike Monday, halting mail service across the country aside from towns and kibbutzim located near the Gaza Strip.

The postal service’s employees announced that they would undertake the measure in protest of the company’s efficiency program, which had come into effect in March.

Under the strike, no mail will be delivered to personal mailboxes, an Israel Postal Company spokesman told The Times of Israel.

According to the employees, an understanding was reached with management and Finance Ministry representatives under which hundreds of employees would be designated for early retirement instead of being fired. In recent days, however, company executives have decided to lay off 1,500 employees, in breach of the previous agreement with the workers, the employees said.

“As part of the negotiations, we agreed to painful efficiency measures, which also included extensive layoffs, out of a sense of responsibility for the fate of the company and concern for the livelihood of thousands of other workers; we agreed to pay a heavy price, and a very painful one,” Shimon Farjun, an employee representative, told Israeli news site Ynet.

“But although we had already reached the final stretch, now it turns out that the Ministry of Finance and the management want to lay off thousands of other employees. We cannot agree to that,” he said.

The postal company’s recovery plan was designed to save it from collapsing financially, and includes a NIS 113 million budget cut. The plan was drawn up by the company’s management in coordination with the Government Companies Authority at the Ministry of Finance, Globes reported.

A number of employees protested outside the home of Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday and additional demonstrations are scheduled throughout the week, according to Ynet.

On Wednesday, a court hearing will convene at the request of the state-owned company’s bondholders, who demand the appointment of a representative of their own to the company, in order to ensure that the postal service does not become insolvent.

The Postal Company’s management criticized the employees for going on strike, and said the measure would hurt the company’s chances of making a financial recovery.

“The Israel Postal Company and the state have gone to great lengths in order to fulfill the employees’ demands, in an attempt to stabilize the company and improve its services to customers, but the proposed reform that was submitted to the employees, which requires the Finance Ministry to invest hundreds of millions of shekels in its implementation, was met with a slammed door in the form of a declaration of a strike in the postal service,” a statement issued by the company read.

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