Israels Port Strike Comes To an End

The three-day strike at the Eilat, Haifa and Ashdod ports came to an end Wednesday when the Finance Ministry agreed to a 5% wage increase, according to Bloomberg.

Two thousand five hundred workers at the three ports – all members of the Histradrut Union- went on strike Monday after wage negotiations came to a dead end.

The union and the Foreign Ministry had been in talks for several months, with the union sowing concern for salary supplements for second-generation port workers who began employment at the port following the reforms agreement of 2005. The union was also pushing for 5 percent wage increases after not receiving bonuses that were supposed to be awarded under the 2005 reform act.

The Finance Ministry responded to the strike with a statement saying that the port workers have the highest average pay in the public sector and their wages recently increased by 35% following a reform agreement. In response to second-generation workers salary, the Finance Ministry says those port workers wages have increased 50-percent over the last five years.

But on Wednesday despite the Foreign Ministry’s apparent reluctance, the Histadrut union walked away with a 6 percent wage increase. Finance Ministry spokesman Shlomi Shefer told Bloomberg that the wage increase will be paid out in two three percent increments over two years, with workers hired after 2005 receiving an additional 5 percent raise, giving them an 11 percent total increase.