JERUSALEM (Jul. 17)
The Israel Cabinet today empowered the Minister of Transport Yitzhak Ben-Aharon to invoke emergency regulations against El Al airmen now overseas in connection with a strike declared by the aircrews of El Al Israel’s national airline. The strike was not approved by the Histadrut, Israel’s Federation of Labor.
The strike brought about the grounding of all El Al airliners in Lydda and at the London airport. The strikers demand higher wages. Prior to today’s action by the Cabinet, the Minister of Transport sought legal advice as to whether the Government can force the El Al air crews to bring in aircraft grounded abroad. The striking crews may, under the emergency regulations, be ordered by the Minister of Transport to return immediately as conscriptees for national service under pain of severe penalties.
Foreign passenger planes, by arrangement with El Al, were today taking passengers booked with El Al to Rome from where the passengers will be brought to their final destination. Meanwhile, El Al issued a statement saying; “Unjustified demands for higher wages and other demands resulted in a wildcat strike by air crews and all El Al aircraft at Lydda are grounded. The strike was not approved by the Federation of Labor.”
The Histadrut also issued a statement declaring that it would not deal with the strikers unless they resume work. The Israeli press, in leading articles, called upon the strikers to return to work in order to enable quiet negotiations of their claims. However representatives of the strikers stated that “our claims are already pending nine months.”