Photo Credit: Flash 90
El Al plane touches down at Ben Gurion Airport runway.

Pilots at El Al Airlines are once again threatening a work slowdown, just a month after having ended one after having reached an agreement with airline management on a pay hike of nearly nine percent.

This time this issue is a management decision to send senior pilots and flight instructors over age 65 on a forced leave, according to the Globes business news site.

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The El Al Israel Airlines Pilots Committee issued a statement Sunday morning about the impending job action.

“From next week a shortfall of licensed El Al pilots is expected due to a decision by the company to put one third of pilot and simulator instructors. In an exceptional step, while discussions are taking place to arrange terms of employment, El Al’s management has decided to put one third of pilot and simulator instructors on forced leave.

“We are talking about pilot and simulator instructors over the age of 65 who are the company’s most senior and experienced pilots.

“Management has decided that the salaries of these pilots will be reduced by tens of percentages from next month. The result of El Al management’s step will be growing harm to the number of pilots with a valid license at the service of the company in implementing its full schedule,” the statement read.

The move comes while the union is involved in talks with management on labor conditions.

According to the attorney for the pilots’ union, the move is a violation of the current labor agreement, and against Israeli law.

El Al management maintains, however, it is taking action because the Israeli government has adopted international regulations that prevent pilots from flying commercial flights after age 65.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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