The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) today officially began its search for a replacement for retiring CEO Yossi Beinart. Beinart who has been CEO since early 2014, yesterday announced his resignation for health reasons. The TASE board of directors has approved the establishment of a committee, headed by chairman Amnon Neubach, to select a replacement. The TASE has hired an external job placement company to assist in the process, but the process is expected to take time, and the new CEO will probably take up his position only in a few months.
At the same time, the dispute between the TASE and its employees is escalating. Sources inform "Globes" that at the beginning of the month, a meeting took place between the TASE chairman, representatives of the workers, and Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) chairman Avi Nissenkorn. The chairman presented figures at the meeting showing the dire state of the TASE and what he said was a need for the workers to adjust to the situation by agreeing to changes in their employment terms.
The workers committee responded this week by sending a letter to Nissenkorn attacking TASE management and alleging that the poor state of the TASE was due to management problems, not the workers' employment terms. In their response to Nissenkorn, the workers state, "The chairman complained about the state of the TASE, and claimed that the only way for it to recover is to take away from the rights that the workers have had for years. The chairman is well aware of the real facts that have led the TASE to its present state. It is clear that neither the workers' salaries nor their employment terms are responsible for this predicament."
The salary and employment terms enjoyed by the TASE workers, however, which among other things include an automatic permanent pay hike mechanism, are liable to burden the TASE even more in the future. The average monthly salary cost of TASE workers rose from NIS 17,000 in 2000 to NIS 45,000 in 2015 - an extraordinary annual increase of 6.7%.
The TASE workers, who are among the highest paid workers in Israel, numbered 240 last year (including managers). The TASE's salary expenses totaled NIS 145 million in 2015 (8% more than in 2014), costing an average of NIS 50,400 per month, including the TASE managers.
The dispute between the workers and management has a price that the workers must pay: the workers' committee fees paid by TASE workers have risen from NIS 75 a month before the current crisis to NIS 200 a month now, a 167% rise. A crude estimate of the added annual payment is over NIS 300,000 a year.
The TASE responded today by saying, "The workers' committee refuses to recognize the situation, and like Don Quixote is fighting yesterday's war. The TASE's difficult straits require recognition by the committee that there is no alternative to belt tightening. It is more important for the committee to realize this quickly, and invest its resources in creating a professional and responsible dialogue for the benefit of all the TASE workers."
The workers' committee answered by saying, "The continual failure of the current TASE chairman to make the TASE more vigorous is today an absolute and accomplished fact. The right thing to do would be to establish a committee to find a new chairman, in addition to a CEO. The unsuccessful chairman, Amnon Neubach, is accusing everyone else, and refuses to consider his own responsibility. Neubach refuses to recognize the fact that the workers have never been the problem, and are willing to be full partners in a solution. The workers' committee fees are being used to combat management failures, and to expose faults and waste."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 22, 2016
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