Israel Railway Workers Strike, Textile Employees Threaten Walk-out

While threatened strikes by Israel’s salaried physicians and engineers were temporarily averted following the promise of speedy Government action on the professionals’ demands, railroad transportation throughout the country was brought to almost a complete standstill today. Railway clerks, signal operators and maintenance men went off the job over demands for higher wages. A few trains were still running between Tel Aviv and Haifa today, as the management of the Israel Railways attempted to maintain token traffic.

The strike of salaried physicians, scheduled for this week, was called off when an agreement was reached, providing for immediate hearings and an early recommendation by an inter-ministerial committee. Demands by salaried engineers for higher wages were partly met, and detailed proposals for a complete settlement will be presented shortly to the Government and other institutions employing engineers.

A new strike threat developed in another sector of Israel’s economy today when it was learned that Ata, one of the country’s largest textile firms, turned down demands by workers for a six percent cost-of-living increase. Other textile companies, claiming they are unable to pay the increase, are also expected to reject the workers’ demand despite a strike threat by the industry’s Labor Council.

Pre-election political dissension among Electric Company workers was blamed for labor friction at several of the company’s plants. A number of hastily formed workers “actions committees” were persuaded to disband today, after submitting demands to management without consulting the elected workers committees. The “actions committees” and the workers committee were supported by different political parties.

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