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[Originally Published in The Times of Israel, “Israel and the Region” section, March 24, 2012]
In latest escalation of dispute, railway workers union continues to protest privatization decision
Starting Sunday, inspectors will stop checking for tickets on all Israel Railways trains in protest of planned transportation reforms, the railway workers union announced on Saturday night.
According to the union, the decision was made as a result of continued bilateral attempts to privatize Israel Railways. It follows an earlier decision to halt all railway development and maintenance work in protest of the government’s decision to privatize the rail service.
Gila Edrey, head of the railway workers union, is to attend a hearing Sunday morning along with four union members, concerning their conduct at previous protests. If found guilty of violence and threats, Edrey could be laid off.
Earlier in March, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz announced a series of transportation reforms which will privatize the rail service by splitting up the current company, Israel Railways, into three subsidiaries responsible for maintenance, cargo, and real estate development, respectively.