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30,000 Civil Servants Strike in Israel to Back Government Body

A one day strike of more than 30,000 civil servants hit the entire country today with drastic reductions in railroad and postal services, and all non-essential Government offices closed down. The strike was aimed at exerting counter-pressure following a strike carried out two weeks ago by Government-employed professionals opposing a recommendation by a Government committee that a single, unified wage scale be put into operation for all civil servants–professional or non-professional. The non-professional civil servants who went out on strike today are in favor of the committee’s recommendations.

While, essential Government offices were manned today by skeleton staffs, some chaos prevailed in the Post Office when cable office clerks at first refused to handle even press cables but it was later agreed that press cables as well as the most urgent personal cables would be processed. Some stoppage of trains brought pressure on interurban bus cooperatives, but the buses provided adequate transportation for all.

Last night efforts were made by the Histadrut and the Government offices to head off the strike but the executive of the Civil Servants Union decided to go ahead with the walkout which Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir labeled as “illogical and incomprehensible.” The Cabinet yesterday approved the decision of a Ministerial Committee for the implementation of the recommendations of a Government committee headed by Bank of Israel Governor David Horowitz dealing with the demands of the Civil Servants Union. The Horowitz Committee had proposed a unified wage scale for all civil servants.

Bus cooperatives are planning their own strike on Thursday in protest against the recent decision to set special passenger stops for the country’s “sherut” taxi services which carry passengers along fixed routes. The bus cooperatives claim that the taxi stops will hamper the smooth movement of buses along narrow roads.

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