A planned general strike on Israeli trains was called off at the 11th hour early Tuesday morning, as the union representatives and management reached an agreement in their negotiations. The strike was originally slated to go into effect at 6 a.m.
Representatives from the Histadrut labor federation and the management of Israel Railways met throughout the night to try to avoid the open-ended strike, which would have caused massive disruptions in the country’s morning commute.
The agreement calls for a 25% increase in workers’ salaries and guaranteed job security for 25 years. It also dismisses the suspensions of workers involved in the strike, and modifies the plan to split up Israel Railways into three privatized subsidies. In return, the workers union has agreed to not strike for the next 3.5 years.
Train workers have long complained of the state’s plans to privatize the rails and outsource work. The workers have threatened to strike before, with the result being harsh backlashes from Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.
Earlier in March, Katz announced a series of transportation reforms which will privatize the rail service by splitting up the current company, Israel Railways, into three subsidiaries responsible for maintenance, cargo, and real estate development, respectively.
On Sunday, rail workers union head Gila Edrei and seven other workers were suspended from their jobs for three months for threatening management.
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