The factory in the north to be closed.
Will finding potential buyers save the workers? (Photo: Haaretz, Gil Eliyahu)
The old factory 'Lehavim Technology' in Nahariya is expected to close after 50 years of operation, according to the management of the factory founded by Steph Wertheimer.
About a thousand of the factory workers are expected to be laid off.
The workers were informed about a week ago about the closing of the factory, something that will happen in the next two years.
Who will buy the factory?
In an interview with Radio North 104.5FM,
Asher Shmueli, the chairman of the region in the Labor Histadrut
, said about the potential buyers, among them the Aerospace Industry, which expresses great interest in purchasing the plant: "Who would want more than the workers and residents of the Western Galilee and your faithful servant that the Aerospace Industry be here, in the Galilee, and provide here Workplaces with a collective agreement like they have.
Just this morning we read that they made a decision there to distribute NIS 90 million in grants to the employees of the aerospace industry - that's the kind of industry we want.
An industry that supports financially with a decent salary."
When asked if he knew of any official request made to the Americans, he said that he knew of requests, but did not know if they were specific requests from the aerospace industry.
"I do know how to tell that they are interested and they talked to me and ask their questions. This is a government company - this plant is a defense plant and it was established at the request of Steph Wertheimer.
Dayan (Moshe Dayan was the Minister of Defense at the time the plant was established L.R.) understood more than anything Another one is that he owes such a factory so that our planes don't stay on the ground. Steph's mistake was to bring in the Americans as partners, and if he had known that was what would happen, he wouldn't have let it happen."
Moshe Dayan in his days as Minister of Defense.
He gave Stef Wertheimer a boost to set up the factory following the French arms embargo, which prevented the import of spare parts for the Mirage aircraft (photo: official website, IDF spokesperson, IDF archives at the Ministry of Defense)
"After all, no one here makes the whole engine"
In the meantime, sources in the company's management confirmed that one of the proposals that came to them was examined, but it was not clarified what its details were and how seriously it was being considered.
There are several other entities on the list of potential buyers.
Among them are the Fortissimo Fund, a group of investors from China led by Shalom Simhon - who was Minister of Industry and Trade, Amos Greenbaum, a real estate investor, and another interesting potential buyer is the Fimi Fund
. Inside this engine they make parts of it.
After all, no one here makes the whole engine - everyone makes some kind of part here.
They don't manufacture this part and for them it's another part of this glove called an engine as it is."
He also added: "The Shalom Simhon Foundation is also very interested. There is another problem of the Chinese vis-a-vis the Americans. In the end, there is a security and economic intensity for a development area - this is an area where the Nablus and Arab industries are not establishing. I know that they have enough orders for next year as well, and probably That's why they want to operate in 2024 as well. I'm glad there's another year of work, but it doesn't solve the future problem - when a person doesn't know what will happen to him in the future, it's even worse."
More about the potential buyers of the plant
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In collaboration with the Galil company
Steph Wertheimer on the background of the factory he founded.
The factory workers are sure that the buyers were just waiting for the closing, with the end of their commitment period according to the sales agreement (Photo: Haaretz, Gil Eliyahu)
"May Mr. Bibi enter the picture. There are soul laws here"
The conversation was joined by
Farid Said, chairman of the workers' committee at the factory
, who asked to voice the workers' cry after the announcement.
According to him, the government must solve the issue.
"We are not interested in the next government or this government - we want Mr. Bibi and the Minister of Defense to enter the picture."
According to him, there are human rights here, therefore the plant in question must exist and it must have programming and a horizon.
"There are second and third generation people in this factory, so this factory must exist. There are suppliers who are willing to continue working with us - all you need is the will."
Later he wanted to emphasize: "The Americans played a trick on us and the state needs to pay attention. The management puts the people under pressure - they tell us 'let's take a percentage', but we are not there, and do not want to be there. The management is helping the Americans and not the workers, that is in my opinion. We sat down for negotiations - every two years there is a new agreement here. They want to do everything in one package, and they are trying in every way to close the factory."
Shmueli addressed the matter, saying: "What they want to do and that is what they are leading and pushing for - to negotiate on severance pay and early retirement for the employees and how to resign from the 900. I told them that neither I nor Arnon Bar David are conducting any negotiations with them on the issue. No compensation and no Early retirement and nothing. We are looking for buyers. Their interest is probably to be exclusive and that way they will play with the prices as they want. These Americans don't see 900 people, the families who want to make a living. They only see the dollar," he concluded.
Pratt & Whitney response
Pratt & Whitney stated: Our intention is to reach agreements on the issues at hand, including the salary conditions of the employees as well as the conditions of the employees in light of our decision.
We respect the right of the workers to continue their protest regardless of negotiations and believe that the right way is to continue direct negotiations between the parties and not through the media.
Israel Aerospace Industries