There have been no disruptions of El Al’s flight schedule.
The District Labor Court yesterday extended the temporary restraining order it issued two days ago against the sanctions by El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. pilots, and ordered the pilots to return to regular work.
El Al management has recently been faced with what it describes as “deliberate non-availability of the pilots.” Company management asserts that the pilots’ unwillingness to man and carry out certain flights is harming the company and its customers.
It happened again on Sunday: four flights that were not manned due to “deliberate non-availability of the pilots” were delayed for several hours.
El Al subsequently petitioned the District Labor Court for a ruling ordering the pilots to refrain from disrupting flights, and to return immediately to regular work.
“Out of concern for the company’s customers and its timetable, El Al is asking the Court to order the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) and the workers’ representatives to make sure that industrial peace prevails, and to ban work disruptions and any sanctions whatsoever,” El Al said.
Despite the Labor Court’s ruling calling on the pilots to return immediately to regular work, El Al also failed yesterday to man a flight to New York.
The Court yesterday extended the temporary orders issued against the pilots’ sanctions, and scheduled an additional hearing on the matter next week. As of web posting, there had been no disruptions of El Al’s flight schedule.
For their part, the pilots say they are not conducting sanctions; what is involved, according to Nir Tzuk, a pilot and chairman of the El Al Air Pilot Association, is a “severe, genuine, and alarming shortage of pilots, especially first officers, for several months.”
Tzuk also told “Globes,” “With all due respect to the Labor Court, we are going above and beyond the call of duty. We are flying an average of 30% more flights than last year. There are no sanctions, no sitdown pilot actions, and nothing at all. We’re working like crazy, and bending under the burden, but we have certain fleets with a huge shortage of pilots, and so El Al has flights that it is unable to man.”
“Unfortunately, company management is trying to solve the personnel shortage through the courts and disciplinary threats, instead of addressing the shortage and deteriorating labor relations. When labor relations are extremely poor, pilots have no drive to land in the morning and fly again in the evening. Fatigue is not only physical; it is also mental,” Tzuk added.
In response to Tzuk’s remarks, El Al said, “El Al completely rejects the pilots’ claims.”