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Daylong Israel airport strike strands thousands

 Jewish passengers dance and cheer as they wait at baggage claim in the arrivals hall at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monda...
 Passengers wait at baggage claim in the arrivals hall as Israeli police officers stand guard at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv, Israe...
 Ultra-Orthodox Jews wait at baggage claim in the arrivals hall at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, Sept. 13, 2010. Wor...
 An ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy waits at baggage claim in the arrivals hall at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, Sept. 13,...
 Ultra-Orthodox Jews wait in the departures hall at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, Sept. 13, 2010. Workers at Israel'...

Mideast Israel Airport Strike

Jewish passengers dance and cheer as they wait at baggage claim in the arrivals hall at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monda...

Mideast Israel Airport Strike

Passengers wait at baggage claim in the arrivals hall as Israeli police officers stand guard at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv, Israe...

APTOPIX Mideast Israel Airport Strike

Ultra-Orthodox Jews wait at baggage claim in the arrivals hall at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, Sept. 13, 2010. Wor...

APTOPIX Mideast Israel Airport Strike

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy waits at baggage claim in the arrivals hall at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, Sept. 13,...

Mideast Israel Airport Strike

Ultra-Orthodox Jews wait in the departures hall at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, Sept. 13, 2010. Workers at Israel'...

Israeli airport workers staged a one-day strike Monday to press for pension benefits, stranding thousands of passengers during one of the busiest travel periods of the year.
The strike ended after the government reached a compromise with the workers' union. But even after the agreement was announced, Ben-Gurion International Airport remained chaotic as travelers searched for luggage or tried to board delayed flights.
Airport spokeswoman Maayan Malkin said a new flight schedule had to be created before flights could resume taking off. The departure hall was still teeming with people shortly after the agreement was reached, and screens showing departure times were still mostly flagged red for "delayed."
The strike took place in the middle of Israel's heavily traveled Jewish holiday season. Some 30,000 travelers were to have passed through the airport on Monday alone, Malkin said.
Angry passengers waited hours to board planes, with many saying they were not informed of the strike's progress.
"The workers' struggle may be just but they could have solved it in a different way. They didn't need to solve it on the backs of the travelers," Reuven Schiff, traveling to Madrid, told Channel 2 TV.
Workers feared the government would raid their pension fund to cover other debts, including hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation owed to people living near the airport over noise complaints.
The Finance and Transport Ministries agreed in hours of negotiations with the union not to touch the pensions, the Finance Ministry said.
During the strike, outgoing flights were grounded, though incoming flights that were already airborne when the strike broke out were allowed to land, Malkin said. Many travelers who managed to make it in were not able to collect their luggage and stood for hours in front of empty conveyor belts.
Others sat on trolleys and the floor, hoping for some clarity as the hours wore on.
A group of ultra-Orthodox Jews returning from a pilgrimage to a revered rabbi's burial site in Ukraine banged on small drums they had with them after discovering their bags were nowhere to be found.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz welcomed the agreement.
"I am glad we were able to reduce the harm and suffering to the citizens of Israel," he said.


Updated : 2021-10-19 14:31 GMT+08:00