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Production Resumed at Ata Textile Plant After New Dispute

Production was resumed today in the giant Ata textile plant, shut down for 100 days in Israel’s longest and costliest strike, after settlement of a final hitch in the return-to-work agreement.

The final obstacle was a dispute over the refusal of the firm to permit two workers, accused of attacking J.Abramov, the plant manager, to return to their jobs. When the strikers responded with a threat of a renewed walk-out, the Histadrut executive reopened talks with Ata management and agreement was reached on an arbitration formula.

When representatives of the strikers and management appeared Friday for arbitration, Histadrut officials made a surprise announcement that the two workers had agreed to resign “to prevent furthering suffering by the workers and to remove any obstacles to resumption of work.”

The Ata workers were then called back to work by the Histadrut executive, which had moved into the strike deadlock at the insistence of Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, taking negotiations away from the Haifa Labor Council in the process.

Histadrut executive officials issued a formal condemnation of an Ata worker’s committee, which had demanded renewal of the strike over the barring of the two accused strikers. The Histadrut called “irresponsible” a statement by the workers committee that the workers would “not accept conclusion” by arbitration “which is not to our taste.”

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