Israel Chemicals employees escalate struggle against Potash merger

The employees demand Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will announced that the company will not be sold.

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc.'s (NYSE; TSX: POT) announcement last week that it was suspending talks to acquire Israel Chemicals Ltd. (TASE: ICL) has not calmed the latter's employees. Today, Dead Sea Works' workers committee announced that it will escalate itsstruggle to torpedo any possible deal.

Dead Sea Works' workers committee chairman Edmond Lankri said that thousands of Israel Chemicals employees in the south would hold demonstrations in the coming days, and that they would gradually intensify their protest, unless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not announce that there will be no sale of the company. The employees are also demanding legislation to ban the transfer of the controlling interest in Israel Chemicals to a foreign company, in order to protect the Dead Sea's natural resources and keep them in Israeli hands.

Thousands of Israel Chemicals employees and local residents demonstrated at the Dimona Junction. "Today is the first time we are demonstrating against the steps being prepared on this matter. If the prime minister does not come out with a clear statement on the matter, we will intensify our struggle," Lankri told "Globes".

Lankri added, "We're very afraid of a takeover by Potash Corporation of Israel Chemicals, and that Dead Sea Works' main business will go over to the Jordanian side, where workers are paid little. In addition, the great knowledge and huge investments in Israel will go to other places and the south will suffer from severe unemployment. Dead Sea Works and Israel Chemicals' other facilities are the economic anchor of the south, beyond the fact that the state should not forego its natural treasures."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 5, 2013

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

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