Israeli labor union threatens major strike ahead of election

Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:01am EST
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JERUSALEM Feb 26 (Reuters) - Israel's main labour union threatened on Thursday to shut down a large part of the economy just days before a parliamentary election unless one of the largest companies in the country reversed a plan to reduce its workforce.

"We need to cause shockwaves here," Avi Nissenkorn, the head of the Histadrut labor federation that represents hundreds of thousands of public sector workers, told Army Radio.

He said a weeks-long dispute with potash maker Israel Chemicals (ICL) which has exclusive rights to mine minerals at the Dead Sea, would be expanded into a general strike in all of southern Israel unless the job cuts are nulled.

Polls show a tight race ahead of the March 17 election, campaigning for which has been dominated by economic issues like high living costs and workers wages. (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Catherine Evans)