The owner of the Hebrew-language daily Ma’ariv, Shlomo Ben-Tzvi, hasn’t endeared himself to his former employees since shuttering the paper’s printing house a week ago, 11 months ahead of its planned closure, as promised when he acquired the paper 7 months ago.
According to Globes, whose printing house now also prints Ma’ariv, the printer’s 50 remaining employees gathered Tuesday outside the building in Bat Yam, located south of Tel Aviv, because the newspaper has not yet approved their retirement agreement due to a dispute with the trustee.
The printing house’s employees, who are represented by the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel), reached an agreement for voluntary retirement, but the agreement has yet to be approved. The printing house’s staff had been slashed from 500 to fewer than 50 in the past few months.
“We want a written commitment that the days when the paper was not printed will be counted as workdays and not as part of the voluntary retirement agreement,” an employee told Globes. Another employee added, “We have no agreement, we have no layoff notices, and the printing has moved elsewhere.”
“We’ve been deceived and lied to from the beginning,” an employee told Globes. “It was always intended to close the printing house. There were offers to buy the newspaper with the printing house, and it’s unclear why they decided to sell it to Ben-Tzvi. The workers also protested against the Histadrut, which did not stand by them.”
Ma’ariv told Globes the agreement is now waiting for final approval by an Israeli court.