Update: Israeli Dockworkers End Strike

Workers of Israel’s Haifa and Ashdod ports agreed to go back to work ending their strike launched on Wednesday over the privatization of the country’s two major ports.

Some 2,400 workers resorted to industrial action which resulted in shutting down of the country’s ports, with around 40 ships pending unloading, Reuters reports.

The workers launched the strike on Wednesday despite a decision of the country’s labor court to return to work.

The strike coincided with the signing of contracts for operation of the two ports with Chinese Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), which has won a tender to operate the new port being developed in Haifa Bay and Dutch Terminal Investment Limited (TIL), which has been selected to operate South Port in Ashdod.

Under the deal, the two companies will be able to hire staff who are not members of Israel’s Histadrut Labor Union that might result in hiring of cheaper international labour force over local personnel.

The country’s transportation minister Yisrael Katz said that the strike would not affect the signing ceremony.

However, having been faced with potential criminal charges the workers agreed to go back to work as the minister threatened to declare state of emergency.

A spokesman for Ashdod port confirmed to Reuters on Thursday that the workers were returning to work.

World Maritime News Staff; Image: Port of Ashdod