The Israeli cabinet debated on Wednesday September 30, 2003, the use of Egyptian and Jordanian harbors for imports and exports to offset a strike by local seaport workers, reported Haaretz.
Some 2,500 workers at Israel’s three ports, as well as staff at the Ports Authority headquarters in Tel Aviv, joined a nation-wide public-sector strike in response to planned government cuts to state and welfare spending.
The emergency trade plan could begin the transfer of goods via ground transportation to and from Port Said in Egypt and Rafah in the Gaza Strip and Nitzana in the Negev. Movement between Aqaba in Jordan and the Arava crossing is also in the works.
The Israeli decision to use foreign harbors was reached Tuesday at a meeting between transportation and treasury ministers. Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the Israel Ports Authority to pay 200 million Israeli shekels ($45 million) to cover the cost of the transportation of goods.
This past March, some 700,000 Israeli public sector workers began a nationwide strike in protest against breaches of collective wage agreements. Strikers demonstrated against the Israeli government's decision to pass a bill that would abrogate collective wage agreements by slashing wages, firing employees and altering pension conditions. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )