Opposition Parties Request Knesset Debate on ‘slow-down’ Strikes
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Opposition Parties Request Knesset Debate on ‘slow-down’ Strikes

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Three opposition parties submitted an urgent motion to Parliament today for debate on the Government’s handling of the three-week-old “go-slow” action by tax and postal workers which has crippled Israel’s mail service and tax collections.

In a related development, the Histadrut, Israel’s Labor Federation, approved a plan to seek arbitration of the disputes. The plan, approved by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol’s Mapai party and the Liberals against Achdut Avodah, Mapam and the Communists, specified that the arbitration proposal was on an ad hoc basis and was not meant to be a precedent beyond the present slowdown actions.

The affected workers continued to ignore a threat by Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir that the go-slow action would be treated as a full-scale strike with the immediate effect of suspending the pay checks of the tax and postal workers. Committees of the two worker groups immediately engaged an attorney to plead before the Supreme Court against the suspension of salary payments. The plea to the court contended that since the workers were reporting for work regularly and completing their daily work schedules, although slowly, there was no basis for suspension of wage payments.

Post office section directors were instructed to report to management workers who continued to perform their duties at a slow pace whose wages are to be stopped. Treasury officials rejected claims of the workers that such suspensions were illegal. The motion for debate was submitted to Knesset Speaker Kaddish Luz by Herut, the Liberals and Mapam.

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