6,000 Engineers, Agronomists, Architects, Chemists Go on Strike in Israel

An 11-hour marathon bargaining session collapsed this morning and 6,000 salaried engineers, architects, agronomists, chemists and geologists walked off their jobs in public institutions and government offices. Only essential work in the Defense Ministry and a few other agencies was permitted to continue.

The Engineers Union, which has been bargaining for higher wages for several months, met last night with officials of the Government and the Histadrut, Israel’s Labor Federation, in last ditch talks. The engineers have claimed that the wage gap between them and common laborers had been narrowed by a recent general increase for the laborers. A committee set up by the Histadrut recommended a small increase in engineers’ wages but the engineers rejected the proposal, demanding as a minimum a 16 percent increase.

Representatives of a teachers union meanwhile called a meeting for Thursday to decide whether to call a strike in support of their demands for an increase in wages. A meeting will be held tomorrow between teachers representatives and the directors general of the Finance and Education Ministries will decide whether the demands can be met.

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