June 7, 2020 / 7:56 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-Tel Aviv Stock Exchange shut on Sunday due to workers' action

(Adds statement from labour federation)

By Tova Cohen

TEL AVIV, June 7 (Reuters) - The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange said the market will remain shut on Sunday after it was notified by the union that workers would take action to protest the breakdown of talks over an annual bonus payment from 2017.

The exchange had said workers would arrive at the bourse at 11 am (0800 GMT) and return to work after meeting union representatives. But as opening and clearance procedures had not taken place, the market would not be able to open, the bourse said in a statement.

The Histadrut labour federation said trade would take place normally on Monday. It called on all sides “to act responsibly ...and return to the negotiating table for the good of the bourse and the health of the Israeli economy”.

Anat Guetta, head of the Israel Securities Authority, criticised the shut down of the bourse over an internal dispute.

“The bourse is a national infrastructure that should not be easily shut down,” she said.

The bourse said the union is not satisfied with a bonus of 15 million shekels ($4.3 million) and is seeking an increase.

“This is in addition to the fact that the average monthly salary at the bourse is 50,000 shekels and the workers have shares (in the bourse) worth 100 million shekels, equal to 6% of the bourse’s shares,” the exchange said.

It noted that no workers were furloughed or impacted by the coronavirus outbreak despite unemployment reaching record levels.

Israel’s average monthly salary is 11,000 shekels.

The Histadrut said that following meetings this morning employees were prepared to return to work.

“Despite this, the bourse’s management chose not to open trade,” the Histadrut said in a statement.

The market, which is closed on Fridays, was expected to open sharply higher following big gains on Wall Street.

$1 = 3.4674 shekels Reporting by Tova Cohen; editing by Steven Scheer and Jason Neely

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