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Israel’s New Wage Policy Opposed by Right and Extreme Left Groups

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Opposition to the new wage policy of the Israel Government is now being voiced here by both the extreme left and right wing groups as the purchasing power of the Israeli pound in pay envelopes is being brought down to that of one dollar, with average earned monthly income less than half their weekly counterparts in the United States.

Results of a survey published here today reveal that the highest earned incomes in Israel–beside some non-salaried professionals–are now those of free-lance mechanics, drivers and construction workers. Steadily employed construction workers earn officially thrice and, in fact, up to five times as much as the unskilled temporary immigrant labor employed in amelioration and afforestation.

The survey also establishes that the highest paid civil servant earns more than five times the basic pay of the lowest. Skilled agricultural labor, which is very scarce, retains equality with industrial labor.

Income tax on modest earned incomes is already so high that it seriously hampers work in certain basic industries and services. While employees in such enterprises were accorded tax relief on overtime and premium earnings, others in the same income brackets, including all salaried intellectuals, continue to pay 40 percent and over of every additional pound above 100 per month if they are single, or married people without children. As a result, evasion is widespread, not only by way of expense accounts and failure to declare odd jobs, but also by holding jobs under false names.

The General Zionist Party, it is believed here, will soon make an attempt to lure workers away from the socialist parties by offering them a share in profits. such as is received by permanent hired workers in some Histadrut-affiliated cooperatives. Meanwhile, the Histadrut is carrying out a policy of not permitting demands for basic pay increases, so that augmentation of most incomes is possible only through overtime and the exceeding of piece work norms.

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