Dozens of flights taking off and arriving at Ben Gurion Airport have been moved up to early Sunday morning due to the four-hour “solidarity” strike planned for Sunday in protest of Teva’s plan to lay off hundreds of employees.
As a result of the strike, which will be in effect from 8:00 a.m. to noon, flights scheduled for that time will instead arrive and depart between 5:00 and 8:00 a.m. Three flights — Arkia airlines to Larnaca, Aeroflot to Moscow and another by Turkish Airlines — have been cancelled, while 66 flights in total will be moved up because of the strike, according to Hadashot TV news.
While check-in and other services will begin again at noon, flights are not expected to resume until 2:30 p.m.
Air travel within Israel will also be effected, although flights from Eilat’s Ovda Airport and Tel Aviv’s Sde Dov airfield are set start again at 11:30 a.m.
The Israel Airports Authority told passengers to check their updated flight times in light of the strike.
Beyond the airport, the strike is expected to bring much of the country to a standstill.
Also closing shop will be government ministries, banks, health services and other sectors as part of the “solidarity” strike, which was called by the powerful Histadrut trade union following Teva’s announcement it would slash its work force. Public transportation, including buses and trains, will not be effected by the strike.
Histadrut head Avi Nissenkorn said Saturday evening the strike is meant to send a “clear message” the union would not accept the layoff of Israeli workers.
“We are fighting for the workers of Teva, to save the industry in Israel and to support blue and white,” said Nissenkorn. “Organized labor has been enlisted and is sending a clear message.”
Nissenkorn has said 1,750 employees will be made redundant by Teva as part of plans to slash 14,000 jobs globally over two years.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world’s largest producer of generic drugs, said on Thursday its reductions would be across the board and in all its locations.
The cuts would amount to more than a quarter of Teva’s global workforce of over 55,000.
Teva has been saddled with debt after its $40-billion acquisition of the generics arm of rival Allergan was completed last year.
The acquisition has been accompanied by low prices for generics, particularly in the United States, a major market.
Nissenkorn, who has met with Teva management, has said that 1,250 employees in Israel will be sacked in 2018 and 500 the following year.
According to Histadrut, Teva has received $6.2 billion in tax reductions since 2006.