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Histadrut Seeks to Break Deadlock in Textile Strike; Summons Parley

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An extraordinary session of the plenary executive of the Histadrut, the Israel Federation of Labor, has been summoned by the Histadrut’s executive bureau in an effort to break the deadlock in the strike against the ATA textile firm, Israel’s largest textile enterprise.

The strike has been in progress since May 10. Last week, Premier David Ben Gurion made an attempt to arbitrate the conflict but withdrew when management objected to concessions he had promised in an effort to secure acceptance by the strikers of his arbitration.

Secretary General Pinchas Lavon, who reported on the strike situation to the Histadrut bureau yesterday, accused the leaders of the Haifa Labor Council of responsibility for the failure of the Ben Gurion mediation attempt. He also charged them with failure to consult Histadrut’s trade union department on the conduct of the strike. Mr. Lavon disclosed that Histadrut’s treasury had already allotted 220, 000 pounds ($122, 000) to strike funds, matching a similar grant from the Haifa Labor Council.

A sharp party struggle has arisen around the ATA strike. Although most of the strike leaders are members of Premier Ben Gurion’s Mapai Party, they are being supported by the opposition Labor parties, Mapam and Achdut Avodah – while the Mapai central bodies are putting pressure on them to abate their demands and reach a settlement of the strike.

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