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German submarine affair: Navy shipyard workers slam outsourcing

Workers at the Israeli Navy’s shipyard have demanded the IDF’s internal comptroller to look into outsourcing done at the shipyard in recent years amid reports of pressure put on the Navy
to outsource maintenance work for its submarines to a German shipyard.



In a letter to Brig. Gen. Ilan Harari, head of the shipyard workers’ union Nissim Elimelech slammed Navy officers in charge of acquisitions from civilian companies, demanding that they be replaced.


“The workers’ union found out that instead of buying new tools and doing upgrades, or preserving the knowledge for the benefit of the IDF, the Resources Department often proposes and signs different privatization deals. It is also outsourcing assignments to contractors without even issuing a tender, which in our opinion is done without real supervision, doing so even when there is no justification for outsourcing.”


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Elimelech noted that “there is national significance to the fact the shipyard workers have the capability and knowhow to carry out repair work on all vessels used by the Navy, down to the smallest screw.”


He added that “even if there is justification for it, outsourcing must be done in accordance with military commands … and by examining the alternatives in an organized manner. Outsourcing should surely not be done on a regular basis instead of hiring new workers and without justification.


“It doesn’t make sense that while the shipyard has skilled workers, assignments are being outsourced to contractors at a much higher cost, instead of preserving the knowledge and saving the taxpayer’s money.”


Israel’s submarine deal with Germany
includes two main parts: The acquisition of three submarines and the signing of a contract for long-term maintenance work with the German shipyard that is represented by Israeli businessman Miki Ganor. It is the latter contract that would be more profitable to Ganor, according to defense officials.


The Israeli Navy’s shipyards currently employ Israeli civilians to do maintenance work on its submarines, and it is them that would be affected if the work is outsourced to a private company.


In a letter obtained
by Yedioth Ahronoth, head of the IDF Workers Union Moshe Friedman confirms that Ganor and his lawyer David Shimron—who
is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal lawyer—met
with him and with Avi Nissenkorn, the head of the Histadrut Labor Federation, to pressure them against trying to foil the efforts to outsource the maintenance work to the German shipyard.


Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ordered on Wednesday to open a police inquiry into the submarine deal.


The Justice Ministry issued the following statement in light of the investigation: “The attorney general conducted further consultation meetings regarding the submarine deal, which included the state attorney and other officials from the Justice Ministry, as well as the head of the Israel Police Investigation and Intelligence Department.”


The statement explained that the consultations focused on “new information received by the police today, as well as other developments on the matter. At the end of the discussion, the attorney general decided to instruct the government to conduct an investigation led by the Israel Police on the different aspects of the affair.”


Prime Minister Netanyahu has denied that he had any knowledge
of his attorney’s connection to the submarine deal.


Article source: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4883796,00.html

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