Unionists in Israel are embroiled in a dispute with the transport authorities in an effort to see better pay in the country’s trucking industry to help counteract the long hours culture. This is widely believed to lead to accidents, including recent incidents that led to fatalities.
The International Transportworkers Federation (ITF)-affiliated Histadrut Transport Workers’ Union is in dispute with trucking employers over its refusal to increase truckers’ wages. Truckers are making up the shortfall by driving over nine hours per day, the ITF website reports.
The union has negotiated a collective bargaining agreement that covers truck drivers who are employed by the Israel Road Transport Board (ITB). However, some 80 per cent of drivers in Israel remain unorganised for fear of employer reprisals. As a result the Histadrut Transport Workers’ Union has stepped up a truckers’ organising campaign.
Recently, the Histadrut Transport Workers’ Union saw off an ITB attempt to increase the number of working hours from 12 to 14.
Avi Edri, head of the transport union, said: “There are too many small companies whose employers are not members of the ITB and therefore, our collective bargaining agreement is not valid for them.
The Histadrut Transport Workers’ Union is struggling to improve the terms of the collective agreement of the drivers, and is calling for the adoption of the ITF road transport campaign which makes clear ‘fatigue kills’.
” We are determined to organise this sector and establish reasonable wages for all drivers.”
There is currently a huge drive to increase union density, and unionise the trucking industry in Israel, because of widespread frustration among the workforce over exploitation and disregard for safety issues.
Last November a small competing union to the Histadrut – WAC Ma’an – announced the creation of a ” Truck Drivers Parliament” as part of an initiative to create a new truck drivers union.