Israel: Support needed for dock workers’ strike against privatisation

Israeli port workers, who have been on strike since Tuesday, September 30, are fighting a crucial battle for their jobs, their conditions and the future of the Israeli working class.

They are resisting the plans of the arch-Thatcherite Finance Minister, Bibi Netanyahu, who wants to force through legislation breaking the public Port Authority into three or four independent companies competing with each other- on the road to the complete privatisation of the ports. In this way, the finance ministry is unilaterally breaking the agreement that ended the port strike of 2000, when the government pledged that “structural change” in the ports would only be carried out in consultation with the port unions.

But this is not just another agreement with workers broken by the government – we have seen many of those. The port workers have a longstanding tradition of proud and militant trade unionism that dates back to the British Mandate. Today they are one of the last powerful bastions of organised labour in Israel. Breaking the port workers is an essential part of this millionaires’ government’s war on organised labour, and this aim, for them, justifies any means: using ports in Egypt and Jordan (which are blocked by the Port-Sa’id and Aqaba port unions), unloading goods in the Israel shipyards (which is likely to fail) and serving court injunctions to workers. The government are even seriously considering sending in the Israeli Army, when all else fails.

In the past, the Israeli port workers did not hesitate to act in solidarity with fellow workers striking in other countries, including the courageous Liverpool Dockers. Now they need your support!

Send messages of support by fax – 972-8-8517826 (Ashdod Port). Please state that you got this request from Maavak Sotzialisti, with copies by email to

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October 2003