Employees of AIG have followed the lead set by Migdal & Clal Insurance and are unionizing

The employees of AIG Israel have followed the lead set by the employees of Clal Insurance and Migdal Insurance and are in the throes of unionizing as part of the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor). The employees of the company recently set up a workers committee that planned the unionization like a secret campaign. The plan was implemented last days by employees as dozens of activists signed up staff on digital forms sent as mobile phone messages.  AIG Israel, managed by Shay Feldman, is a fully owned subsidiary of US AIG American International Group Inc.

A source involved in the operation said that a small group of “very charismatic employees” led the unionization and swiftly signed up employees. The operation is expected to be completed within 96 hours and is similar to the unionization campaign that took place at Migdal three months ago. While Migdal has 3,000 employees, AIG Israel only has 900 – a number that does not daunt the Histadrut. 33% of employees need to be signed up for the union to be recognized by law.

A general assembly of Dead Sea workers (Photo: Histadrut Negev District)

A general assembly of Dead Sea workers (Photo: Histadrut Negev District)

The 3,000 employees of  Migdal launched a general strike, after a week a limited labor sanctions and partial strikes. The employees are protesting that, for more than two months since the workers committee at the company was established declared itself the union representing the company, Migdal’s management and owner, Shlomo Eliahu, refuse to open talks on a labor contract.  Migdal’s management also refuses to comply with Tel Aviv District Labor Court Judge Dori Spivak’s more than broad hint to “recognize reality” and the employees’ wishes. He also ruled that Migdal and Eliahu applied “first-degree pressure” to harm the unionization effort. The judge was referring to Eliahu’s direct calls to employees against the unionization, contravening the National Labor Court ban on employers from interfering in employees’ unionization efforts.

Israel Chemicals’ labor dispute spreads to Dead Sea Works

On Thursday, the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) approved a labor dispute at privatized Israel Chemicals Ltd. unit Dead Sea Works. With the announcement, Dead Sea Works joins Israel Chemicals’ other plants, where declared labor disputes have been declared against the company’s streamlining measures. To date, Israel Chemicals has announced the layoffs of 127 employees at its Rotem Amfert Negev unit, but the Histadrut fears a wide round of firings. “The main points of the plan talk about radical changes in the plants’ workforces, shifts, targets, etc. this raises concerns about mass layoffs at Israel Chemicals’ plants in southern Israel,” says the Histadrut.

Dead Sea Works workers committee chairman Armand Lankri said, “The plan talks about rebuilding all of Israel Chemicals’ plants to make the company leaner in order to make it easier to move it abroad or to sell it. Just as we fought against the sale of the company to Canadian Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. several months ago, we will fight against the management’s hidden agenda.”