15,000 Government Employes Stage Three-hour Walk-out in Israel

Fifteen thousand professional workers in government employ–including physicians, jurists and court employees, architects, engineers and pharmacists–engaged in a three-hour walk-out from their jobs today, as strikes and threats of other slowdowns affected Israel’s economy.

Senior civil servants on the whole had refused to heed appeals by Histadrut, the Israel Confederation of Labor, to refrain from joining today’s walk-out, but several thousand government employees did stay on their jobs. The medical staff of Histadrut’s own Sick Fun, numbering 1,500, joined the brief strike, only skeleton staffs remaining at work to care for emergency cases. The District Court here adjourned, deferring trial of several cases, including one involving a murder charge.

In all cases the professionals are demanding higher salaries. Those on full strike as well as those engaging in the three-hour “warning” strike held mass meetings in all principal cities in the country.

Government physicians, and the academic staffs of the Hebrew University, Israel Institute of Technology and the Weizmann Institute of Science are either on strike or on a deliberate “slow down” schedule. Yesterday’s weekly Cabinet meeting of the Government had appealed to the strikers to defer their grievances until the end of August, promising that their demands would then be met “satisfactorily.” However, a joint committee of strikers met and immediately rejected the Cabinet’s plea.

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