after the government accepted to pay the extortion price of the unions.
Haifa, Israel's largest shipping hub, will be sold to a private company.
After years of negotiations between the port workers' powerful union and the government, both parties finally signed an agreement paving the way to privatization. Until now, the unions managed and controlled the port. Their "business model" was simple: extract higher wages and extraordinary benefits for its members, regardless of the profitability of the company
The privatization is a long due process that will help make Israeli ports more efficient and competitive. Haifa is an entrance point to the Middle East, and it has the potential to become one of the active players internationally.
However, privatizing the port isn't cheap for Israeli taxpayers, 200 older workers (out of 1,000) will all receive a very generous retirement package of $800,000. The younger workers were given a grant of $15,000 and ensured wages for the next ten years.
The port privatization story reminded Israelis how difficult and expensive is the process of dismantling the power of the unions in the public sector.
In the long run, it is still worthy of paying the union extortion price and having a private company manage the port.