IEC workers agree to fix outages but 60,000 still suffering

The union of Israel Electric Company (IEC) employees agreed before dawn Monday that for three days, and as long as the emergency situation persists, the workers will cooperate with management and fix power outages that were caused by Sunday's storm.

By Monday morning, an estimated 60,000 people (or according to another version, 60,000 households), mostly in the Sharon coastal region north of Tel Aviv, were still without power, some 24 hours after the storm began.

The IEC reported that 50% of the outages had been fixed, and that it expects to have the situation back to normal by the early afternoon.

Most of the outrages are in Ra'anana, Netanya and nearby communities.

The agreement was reached following a Sunday evening session at the Haifa Regional Labor Court, which was convened after the IEC management appealed to the court and complained that the employees were refusing to work in emergency mode.

The court had instructed the IEC employees to go back to work temporarily and fix infrastructures that had been damaged, until a scheduled midnight court session.

The IEC employees' union stated in response to that decision: "Workers are collapsing under the burden that is the result of faulty management by the company's management over 15 years' time."

The Jerusalem Light Rail was experiencing trouble Monday morning, however. Service was stopped for some time because of a power failure, and the area between Yafo Street and Ammunition Hill continued to be affected even after service in other sections was renewed.

After a freak, severe winter storm hit Israel Sunday morning, knocking out power in dozens of communities throughout the country, thousands of homes were left without power – not necessarily because the power couldn't be fixed, but because of what one consumer rights group said was an “organized slowdown” by workers, who have been feuding with management over the impending breakup of the company.

A spokesperson for management said that the IEC “had experienced a large number of calls on power outages, downed power lines, and other phenomena caused by the heavy rains and strong winds of Sunday morning's storms. However, throughout the day IEC workers stuck to their normal schedule, although they should have been on an emergency schedule. The gap between customer needs and available service was the cause of the outages.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *