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TMCNet:  Pelephone tows away striking workers' cars

[December 12, 2012]

Pelephone tows away striking workers' cars

Dec 12, 2012 (Globes - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The labor dispute at Pelephone Communications Ltd. has escalated. Last night, employees participating in the strike, which was launched yesterday, discovered that their company cars had been removed from their homes by company representatives who had duplicate keys, or were towed. In some cases, the cars had child seats, baby carriages, and other personal items, such as checkbooks, inside.

Pelephone's management took the step after notifying employees during the afternoon that they had until 5 pm to return their company cars, if they intended to continue the strike. The workers committee and the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) instructed the employees not to obey, and they received no further warning about the company's intention of taking the cars, including the personal items in them.

"CEO Gil Sharon has gone insane," an employee told "Globes". "He stole my car with a baby seat and baby carriage." A labor relations expert told "Globes" that while the step was legal, it was "far-reaching and unreasonable." During a speech at the "Globes" 2012 Israel Business Conference last night, Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini said that he instructed the chairman of the Trade Unions Division to provide Pelephone workers committee members alternative cars to replace the company cars taken, and to provide additional work cars to help the strikers. He said that the Histadrut would provide full support for Pelephone's employees until a collective agreement was signed. He reiterated his call to Shaul Elovich, who controls Pelephone through Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Co. Ltd. (TASE: BEZQ) to enter into talks.

Pelephone said in response, "Yesterday afternoon, striking employees were notified by SMS and e-mail that if they continued to strike, they must return the company cars in their possession by 5 pm. During a strike, the labor agreement is suspended, and the company car is returned to the employer for use by non-striking employees. Yesterday evening, the cars of eight striking employees who had not returned their cars were collected, and they were properly notified of this." (The notice was sent after the car was taken -- S.N.) The strike intensifies Meanwhile, the strike launched yesterday by Pelephone's engineering and IT divisions and headquarters staff was expanded today to service centers in Jerusalem and Beersheva. Employees reported high response to the strike and distributed pictures showing empty service centers.

Management had already announced that the service centers were working normally and that the company's customers would not be affected.

___ (c)2012 the Globes (Tel Aviv, Israel) Visit the Globes (Tel Aviv, Israel) at www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/nodeview.asp fid=942 Distributed by MCT Information Services

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