Workers from the privatized Haifa Chemicals company have erected protest tents and occupied factories in Haifa Bay in recent months. On August 24, dozens of Haifa Chemicals workers picketed outside the Haifa Labor Court over their impending layoff. At the request of the employees, a special hearing was being held to determine the fate of the mass firings which had been announced by the company’s management, a measure which could result in some 1,500 workers loosing their jobs, said a Haifa Chemicals spokesperson. Haifa Chemicals is owned by the American holding company Trance Resource Inc. Its head is the capitalist Jules Trump, unrelated to the US president.
The plant has not been operating since April 2017, due to a court-ordered moratorium on replenishing the company’s 12,000-ton ammonia storage facility because of the danger it potentially poses to the residents of Haifa Bay. The company says it has been paying employees for nearly six months despite there being no work.
Koah LaOvdim (“Workers’ Power) Union spokesperson Yaniv Bar-Ilan said: “Our main problem is that management’s solution is to close the plant even though there is no need to do so.”
Haifa’s mayor, Yona Yahav, attended the court hearing and addressed the protesting workers outside the courthouse. “Never before in Israel have workers have been fired before a holiday..”
The Hadash Workers’ Committee in Tel Aviv and Jaffa will be holding a solidarity meeting with Haifa Chemicals workers, next Sunday, September 24 at Hagada Hasmalit (Ahad Ha’am 70, Tel-Aviv). Participating in the panel discussion will be Eli Lutaty, head of the Haifa Chemical Workers’ Committee; Rafi Kimchi, from the leadership of Koah LaOvdim; Dr. Efraim Davidi, former Histadrut Central Committee member and Tamar Katziri, a member of the Hadash Workers’ Committee.