Seven hundred unionized workers at

ECI Telecom

(Nasdaq:ECIL) are holding a protest vigil outside the office of ECI chief executive Doron Inbar.

The organized workers held an assembly after talks between labor representatives and ECI's management collapsed Monday morning. After the assembly, the group of workers headed straight for Inbar's office.

The workers say they are protesting ECI's handling of labor relations.

In their meeting today, ECI's management demanded that the labor representatives consent to the dismissal of 120 workers among the unionized staff. Out of 4,500 employees, 800 belong to the Histadrut union, the biggest and most powerful labor federation in Israel.

TheStreet Recommends

ECI's management tried to hand the labor representatives a list of names designated for dismissal, but the representatives refused to accept it.

Labor representative Haim Ben Shlush said ECI meant to fire all the unionized workers as part of its reorganization into five companies, while retaining its workers employed via personal employment contracts. He also protested that ECI is dismissing staffers while hiring subcontractors.

Ben Shlush said the workers did not believe the dismissals were essential.

On Sunday the Histadrut declared a second labor dispute at ECI, following the dispute declared in early December. All the disputes pertain to the company's plan to split up into five slimmer independent companies this year.

Under Israeli law, the second labor dispute will officially come into force on January 10, 2001.

The first dispute was declared after the company wrote a letter to a labor union panel asking for its blessing to dismiss workers. The second, announced yesterday, is based on the program to split up the company which, the representative claims, will hurt the workers.