Victory for the workers: Pelephone concedes on union

Sources: Pelephone chairman Shaul Elovitch is responsible for the U-turn in the mobile carrier's position.

The path to the first collective agreement in Israel's mobile telephony sector is open. After four months of almost unprecedented opposition, the management of Pelephone Communications Ltd. yesterday recognized the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) as the union representing the mobile carrier's workers. Management made the decision after counting the employees' union application forms, together with Histadrut representatives.

In a joint statement yesterday, the parties said, "Pelephone's management and the Histadrut announced that an examination of the forms carried out by Pelephone today found that there was the third necessary by law for the purpose of representation at the company. Pelephone therefore announces that it recognizes the Histadrut as the representative union at Pelephone. The parties will enter into negotiations on a collective agreement. The strike is over immediately and the employees will return to regular work tomorrow."

Sources inform ''Globes'' that the sudden change in the attitude by Pelephone's management was due to the behind-the-scenes intervention by the company's chairman and controlling shareholder, Shaul Elovitch. The U-turn became urgent after the National Labor Court's precedent-setting ruling last Wednesday in the Pelephone hearing, stating that an employer does not have the right to object to unionization by its employees, including expressing a position on the matter.

Pelephone CEO Gil Sharon said, "I am pleased that we can resume full business activity and focus on dealing with the intense competition in the industry. I believe that we will reach an agreement that will continue Pelephone's leadership in the mobile sector as we deal with the difficult challenges ahead of us. All of Pelephone's workers are united in their pride in being a part of the Pelephone family and in striving for the company's success."

Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini said, "Today is a good day for Pelephone's workers in particular and for workers in general. It has again been proved that when workers are determined to take their fates into their own hands, they succeed."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 7, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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