Due to the immediate danger posed to Israel’s electricity supply by the Israel Electric Company’s general strike, the company’s CEO ordered an immediate appeal to the Labor Court on Monday.
The IEC’s union chief announced the general strike last Tuesday at a Knesset Economic Affairs Committee meeting. Only essential workers remain active at the moment, operating according to a Shabbat schedule. In the past two days alone, workers have abstained from taking care of power station glitches equivalent to about 3,000 megawatts, or 20 percent of the country’s electricity production capacity, according to the management.
Members of the IEC workers union also ceased unloading ash from the country’s coal-fired power plants on Monday morning, the management reported. This step led to the cessation of coal plant operations all day, at a scale of about 3,500 megawatts.
Due to the increasingly real risk of power outages throughout the country, IEC CEO Eli Glickman ordered an immediate appeal be filed to the Labor Court.
“As an essential service provider, none of the IEC workers have the privilege of protesting at the expense of the public and the Israeli economy,” Glickman said. “The court must have its say immediately and return the reins of the company to its CEO.”
IEC chairman Yiftah Ron-Tal stressed that he has instructed the company’s management to “adopt a policy of zero tolerance for the wild and irresponsible behavior” that the workers union members are exhibiting.
“To all sides it is clear that a comprehensive reform is necessary, but these protest activities have gone completely out-of-control, and this is not the way to achieve the stability required for the electricity sector in the country,” Ron-Tal said. “I again urge employees to stop the strike immediately.”
Last week, at the same Economic Affairs Committee meeting at which the strike was announced, committee members elected to not renew the IEC’s licenses, set to expire on Wednesday. Ron- Tal and Government Companies Authority director Uri Yogev did not show up for the hearing, eliciting criticism from the committee’s chairman, MK Avishay Braverman.
On Monday, however, committee members decided to approve the licenses, in the presence of both Ron-Tal and Yogev at another meeting on the electricity situation. With this approval, IEC company licenses are now valid through the end of 2015.
Niv Elis contributed to this report.