Photo Credit: Bank Mizrahi Tefahot website
Bank Mizrahi Tefahot

Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot has pushed off its quarterly report until the 29th of August, in light of the ongoing strike which has frozen much of the bank’s operations, according to the Calcalist website.

The bank normally publishes its report before all the other Israeli banks, and it is expected that this report will show very nice profits for the quarter.

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Analysts believe the management is delaying the report specifically because of the high profits and how that would affect the salary negotiations with the workers.

The bank’s directors have called for an emergency meeting, according to a report in Maariv. They are concerned that the bank’s business clients can’t do any international trades at the moment at the bank’s business centers.

While most of the bank’s branches are physically open, they are incapable of properly servicing their clients in a timely manner.

According to Calcalist, only 30% of the bank’s managers and workers showed up for work on Sunday. Sunday is a regular workday in Israel.

The bank has not yet approached the Bank Regulator in order to receive protection from potential lawsuits from clients.

Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot is the fourth largest bank in Israel, and the largest mortgage bank in the country, holding some 37% of the country’s mortgages.

Very much affected by the strike are home owners looking to refinance their mortgages, or buy and sell their homes.

New Olim (new immigrants to Israel) are particularly affected, as this is the time when many Olim come to Israel and purchase their new homes, before the new school year, and Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot is often the preferred choice of banks.

Over the weekend, a number of Olim told JewishPress.com that they don’t know what to do at the point. They were supposed to move into their new homes this week, but can’t, because they have no way to transfer their payments to the owners.

Some of the frustrated Olim said the bank should fire all the workers.

Another Oleh was surprised the other banks are not even making an effort to pick up the stuck Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot mortgage clients.

According to Maariv, the bank’s management initially thought this was going to be a quick strike, at most a week, and everyone would go back to work with new contracts. They were surprised when the strike continued.

The strike began workers claim the bank did not sign updated contract agreements with the workers in 2016-2017, which affects 4300 employees, and want new contracts moving forward. In addition, the bank is planning to buy Bank Igud.

As of five days ago, a report in The Marker said the two sides were close to an agreement on all the terms, raises and bonuses through 2020, but the worker’s representatives blew up the negotiations over two issues they wouldn’t accept, specifically no more striking during the period the new contracts are in force, and a voluntary retirement plan.

All discussions between the two sides have stopped. In their latest attempt to end the strike, the bank sent letters to the workers that their strike days will be deducted from their salaries. The letter may antagonize the workers even more.

In 2005, a strike at Bank Mizrahi went on for a month.

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