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Striking Workers at Ashdod Return to Work; Accept 90 Dismissals

About 300 workers at the Leyland truck assembly plant in the new town of Ashdod ended their strike today, and accepted dismissal of 90 of the firm’s employes, while Labor Minister Yigael Allon told the Knesset (Parliament) here this morning that unemployment has risen “considerably” throughout Israel last month.

The Ashdod workers had staged a riot during the May Day celebration last week, then followed through with a strike when Leyland announced that 90 workers would be laid off. Today, the company and the workers’ shop committee, at a conference attended by members of the Ashdod Labor Council, agreed to the layoff. As the Leyland workers returned to their jobs, the firm, the committee and the Labor Council started to check the official lists of Leyland workers to determine the names of those who are to be laid off.

Mr. Allon told the Knesset, which resumed its regular session today after a six-week Passover holiday, that employment in Israel has been undergoing a “temporary lull” which, he said, had been foreseen and made public two months ago, when this year’s fiscal budget had been submitted to Parliament.

Speaking formally on behalf of the Cabinet, Mr. Allon said that, while the country has been enjoying a long period of full employment “and even over-employment,” the number of unemployed has risen in April to 4,400, compared with 2,300 in April of 1965. The Labor Minister told the House.

“This is a transit period, in which some inefficient plants may have to close down. But the Government will not aid inefficiencies, as help to such plants would jeopardize the exportability of goods. On the other hand, the Government will direct defense industries and other industries to establish themselves in development areas. The Government will ask its branches to prefer the development areas through orders. It will also provide greater economic incentives to the diamond industry in those areas. Although unemployment may continue in some localities, there is no cause for panic.”

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