In an effort to prevent the closure of the Haifa ammonia facility, Haifa Chemicals threatened to lay off all of its employees, leading the workers to escalate their struggle, paralyzing one of the biggest intersections in Israel.
Itay Blumenthal, Ahiya Raved|Published: 28.03.17
Hundreds of Haifa Chemicals employees blocked a major intersection in Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning in protest of the threats made by the company management to lay them off in an effort to prevent the closure of the ammonia facility in the northern city.
The employees blocked off the intersection at Menachem Begin Road and Givat HaTahmoshet Street, near the Azrielly center in central Tel Aviv. As a result, the HaShalom Interchange on- and off-ramps leading to Ayalon Highway were also blocked.
The demonstration was held without a permit from the police, which was caught by surprise by it but was eventually able to clear the demonstrators off the road and reopen the intersection to traffic.
The court ordered Haifa Chemicals’ ammonia facility to be closed and emptied out by April 1. The company is due in court on Wednesday to submit plans to empty out the facility.
Negotiations regarding the fate of the facility’s employees have reached a standstill, which led them to escalate their struggle.
In ads published on Tuesday morning’s newspapers, the workers urged: “Mr. Prime Minister, help us. The closure of the Haifa Chemicals facilities, both in the north and in the south, puts us—1,500 families—on the streets ahead of Passover. You hold the key to the solution. Only you can stop this nightmare and save us.”
The Histadrut Labor Federation added its support to the Haifa Chemicals employees’ struggle on Monday, with Histadrut leader Avi Nissenkorn declaring a work dispute in the industry and among employers in southern Israel.
In a statement, Nissenkorn called on “all sides to reach a real solution that would prevent the loss of thousands of jobs on the eve of Passover in an area stricken with unemployment.”