El Al’s cancellations, delays continue with pilot labor dispute

Two El Al flights were canceled on Sunday morning, and a third was moved to a Portuguese airline amid the ongoing labor dispute between Israel’s flag-carrier airline and its pilots.

The company explained, “Despite contacting dozens of pilots, asking them to man the flights, all the efforts of the management to man the flights with the company’s pilots failed. We apologize to the passengers.”

The day before, four flights were delayed or cancelled, and a fifth plane flight was transferred to a leased plane. The pilots’ alleged unavailability is seen as “work-to-rule” industrial action on the pilots’ parts to pressure El Al to improve workers’ conditions and increase their salaries.

On Monday, some 6,000 El Al employees will vote in secret ballots on the future of the company, and they will attempt to organize a majority so that the Histadrut (Israel’s organization of trade unions) will be able to apply to the Labor Court to declare a work dispute in El Al. The management is accusing the pilots of “scandalous conduct” that is seriously harming the company and the traveling public.

The El Al pilot’s committee commented, “One pilot is missing, and in his place are 6–10 first officers and another at least 6 captains ready to take the flight and return immediately to continue their monthly schedule. Including the fleet director—a man from the management! But the inflexibility of the company and its failed management prefer to harm hundreds of additional passengers.”