The Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Finance reached an understanding with representatives of the Histadrut and the Haifa Port on a reform to be instituted at the port in order to increase competition and transfer parts of it to private ownership. The parties agreed that hundreds of workers would voluntarily retire and that extensive infrastructure would be set up at the port to deepen the anchorage and cargo services. The port's sea department will operate as part of a separate company. The agreement is expected to be signed in the coming weeks.
The marathon negotiations lasted two days and were conducted according to the instructions of the National Labor Court in Jerusalem. This was after the parties failed to reach agreements during the 18 days allotted to the parties by the Court or within a week of extension granted. The Histadrut announced at this stage that the negotiations had reached a dead end and appealed to the court to demand the right to strike.
Sources at the Histadrut reported that they reached agreements regarding the voluntary retirement program. It was agreed that every employee who retires as part of the efficiency plan at the Haifa Port will receive between NIS 2.5 and NIS 2.8 million. This amount includes a retirement grant and bridging pension up to the age of 67. According to the plan, approximately 260 port employees will retire within the framework of the agreement, of which 100 employees will be recruited from the divisions. The workers who remain in the ports will be immune from layoffs for the next ten years. The workers demanded immunity from dismissal for 15 years