After two and a half weeks of a labor dispute and several days of strikes, on Thursday night the management and workers at Petah Tikva-based telecommunications company ECI Telecom agreed on a reduction in the number of workers who will be laid off to 60. They also agreed on who would be laid off, and on enhanced severance pay, in a formula that takes into account length of service and age. The sides further agreed to negotiate a collective labor agreement over the coming months. The workers are due to return to regular work today.
Yaki Halutzi, chairman of the Cellular, Internet and High Tech Union affiliated to the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel said, "We have succeeded in reducing the number of those who will leave to a minimum, and in obtaining improved severance conditions. We now continue to our next goal, which is a first collective agreement at the company. I wish to thank and laud the workers' committee at ECI for their uncompromising effort and campaign for the sake of all the workers at the company."
Ofir Levy, chairman of the ECI workers' committee, said, "Over twenty years, thousands of people at the company have been perfunctorily dismissed, and Israeli workers have been hit while activity has been transferred to India and to China. Our struggle is over our home - not just ECI, but the State of Israel, and the battle is for our children's future.
"After a powerful campaign by workers with huge heart, and a mighty display of solidarity, we have reached a situation in which the number of those who will be dismissed has dropped from 100 to 60, who will be laid off with honorable conditions. The result is hard, but it must be understood that we have marked a point of no return, whereby the company has realized, through the strength of the employees and the committee, that it cannot fire workers lightly without coming up against a wall that will protect them and fight for their fair treatment and respect. We shall continue to strive for a collective agreement and we shall reach our goals very soon, in the hope of a better future."
ECI's management said in a statement: "We are pleased that through mutual understanding with the workers' committee we have managed to carry out the downsizing program, which will ensure the company's financial strength and enable it to move forward and achieve its goals. ECI regrets that workers will have to leave, and will greatly assist them in the process. The management's responsibility is to the future of the company and that of all its employees. We look forward to returning to normal work on Sunday."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 14, 2018
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