Port workers intend to continue with their wildcat strike, as Israel's main ports in Haifa and Ashdod remained closed on Thursday. The workers said they would remain off the job even if a court ordered them back to work.
A Labor Court judge held a hearing late Wednesday at the behest of port management, and found that the workers had no basis for a work action, ordering all of them back to work at 4:30 a.m. Thursday. However, as of 8 a.m. Thursday, the ports remained closed.
So far, there is only a small number of ships backed up in the port waiting for workers to unload cargo, but that could change significantly, with a major delay in unloading if the strike is not resolved Thursday.
The strike was called over a planned event at the ports in which management invited organizations tsetting up competing ports to review the work procedures in Haifa and Ashdod. The new ports will be under private ownership and will be free to hire staff that are not members of the Histadrut Labor Union.
"Every hour of the strike causes heavy damage and weighs on Israeli exports and imports," said David Castle, the vice-president of the Chamber of Shipping, who, in his statement, stated he was not clear on when the strike would end.