Israeli airline El Al’s labor dispute with its pilots has reached Regional Labor Court in Tel Aviv on Wednesday morning. The court heard the company management’s request to block the resignation of its pilots who are used in a supervisory role, in case of the mass resignation being threatened by the company’s entire pilot base. El Al Argued that should the collective resignation take effect, it would face ruin should it be unable to operate its flights with non-union pilots.
Avi Edri, chairman of the Transport Workers Union in Israel’s Histadrut national labor union, told Israel Radio on Wednesday that the core of the dispute began when El Al announced its plan to cut monthly pay before taxes to active pilots 65 and older from between $16 and $20 thousand a month all the way down to $4,500 a month.
According to Edri, the union had been able to negotiate that amount up to about $13,000 a month, in a deal that included concessions such as mandatory eight to nine monthly simulator training sessions for the older pilots.
But the older pilots pointed out that the simulator session were being conducted abroad, and that doing eight or nine of them each month required leaving home for as many as 20 days each month.
Edri told Israel Radio that El Al should act as the “responsible adult” in the dispute and come closer to the pilots’ position. He also reported the animosity between management and the pilots in El Al is so severe, the two groups have been unable to sit in the same room together during negotiations.