Israeli train drivers call in sick for May Day

Israeli train drivers call in sick for May Day

Railway company predicts possible delays as employees protest changes to shift scheduling system

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

An Israel Railways train (illustrative photo: Moshe Shai/Flash90)
An Israel Railways train (illustrative photo: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

The Israel Railways Company was predicting delays in the train schedule Wednesday, after 28 train drivers called in sick and didn’t show up to work.

The move was apparently coordinated as a response to management’s decision to introduce a new, automated system that would allocate the workers’ shifts instead of having shift supervisors determine the work schedule.

Wednesday is also May Day, or International Workers’ Day, which is associated in many countries with strikes and protests over labor conditions.

The old system at Israel Railways had allowed supervisors to divvy up shifts unequally, giving their friends more convenient and profitable shifts, management said in explaining the switch to a computerized system.

In a statement, Israel Railways said there were no delays in the morning but that “it’s possible we’ll feel the impact of the lack of drivers later on.”

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