About 900 of its 1,400 employees of the "Blade Technology" factory will be laid off by 2024


by Ifi Reporter Category:Hitech Dec 4, 2022

Hundreds of employees of the "Blade Technology" factory for the production of jet engine blades in Nahariya received the message on Sunday morning that after more than 50 years it is expected to close during the year 2025 due to "business considerations". About 900 of its 1,400 employees are expected to be laid off, but in the meantime, many have gathered at the company's second factory in the Tefen industrial area, among other things, in preparation for formulating protest measures. Meanwhile, the Histadrut declared a labor dispute.
Abigail Demati, the stepdaughter of Steph Wertheimer who founded the factory, has been working there for 32 years. In a conversation with Ynet, she said: "It upsets me, where will we work? I heard about it in the media, it's not acceptable." The company was sold in May 2014 to Pratt & Whitney Corporation. According to Damati, they are the ones behind the decision: "It's not appropriate."
Haim Ezran from Acre also spent decades of his life at the factory in Nahariya - and in fact he has been working there since his early 20s. "I've been here for 42 years, I don't remember a situation like this. There were many situations like this where they said, 'There's no work, there's work,' and they got along. But it's a sale, as they say, under the carpet," he claimed. He noted that "the feeling is difficult for everyone". He himself is expected to retire soon, but according to him, "it doesn't matter". "It's the same hard feeling that everyone has, from the little ones to the big ones. Here people raised children, made a decent living, it was one of the biggest flagship factories in the whole north."
"If anyone thinks that they were allowed to close like this and applaud them - then they are wrong," said Asher Shmueli, chairman of the Western Galilee region of the Histadrut. The workers' committee and the Histadrut are demanding that the American corporation that purchased the factory from Wertheimer about a decade ago sell the factory and not close it immediately. But they claim that the company refuses to do so in order to prevent competition and ensure the cessation of the production of the special blades.
Farid Said is the chairman of the workers' committee at the factory. He told Ynet that in recent days there have been rumors circulating among the production departments about the intention to close the factory, but this morning, when the heads of the factory met with the heads of the committee and the Histadrut, they issued the announcement of its closure in a letter to the general The employees and the announcement fell on him "like thunder in broad daylight": "How can something like this happen overnight? They are informing us, and while we are sitting with them and informing us, they have already issued a notice to the workers about the closure of the factory."
According to him, "This is a behavior that does not respect them or the workers, some of them have been here for 43 years who have given their lives to the factory and have lived here longer than they did in their home."
Saleh Abdullah, a resident of the village of Kisra and father of five children, has been working in the production department of the factory for a decade and he believes that its closure will lead to destruction and a huge crisis in employment in the Galilee. "I have a mortgage for NIS 700,000. If I go home, like me, like a thousand language workers, we have no other jobs. Where will we go? Because of competition and global forces, they will destroy us. What will we do? Shall we return to agriculture? There is no livelihood here either Today".
Abdullah also shares the feeling that the factory can be saved, if the owners of the American corporation that controls it wanted to. "They don't want to sell the factory to another sponsor so they don't have competition in the world, they want to take over the aviation industry and harming us doesn't interest them, the factory is American, they don't care about the worker, what kind of family works here, they care about the dollar, they care about their money , they believe that this whole factory will burn."
Lahavim Technology Enterprises was founded in 1968, after the Six Day War, by businessman Steph Wertheimer and the Discount Investment Group. The company was sold to the American corporation. It employs about 1,400 workers and most of them are expected to be laid off. The company's announcement stated that "besides ceasing the production of compressor blades, BTL will continue the production of integral blades (IBR), while TJL, another subsidiary of RTX located in Tefen, will continue to produce turbine blades that are essential for the corporation's key activities."
Pratt & Whitney says that the closing process will begin in 2024 and will be completed in 2025, and it will negotiate with the workers' representatives and the Histadrut regarding the terms of the dismissed workers. The corporation explains that "in the background of BTL's losses is a decrease in demand for compressor blades, a trend that is getting stronger and stronger. In addition, the current technology and process capacity do not allow to maintain productivity in a way that would be economically feasible."
Just over a year and a half ago, the factory management and the Histadrut signed a new collective agreement for the employees, which will be in effect until the end of 2022. As part of the agreement, everyone who started working for the company until the end of 2020, received a 2% wage increase retroactively from January 2021. Also, every An employee with six months of service in January 2022 - received a 3% salary increase.
It was also determined that the company undertakes to allow night shift workers to perform at least ten additional hours in the morning shift each month. The salary for the first two hours of the night shift will be 214% of the base salary, and the remaining hours of the night shift will be worth 142% of the base salary.



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