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Ultimatum to Haifa Dock Workers Expires Today; Last Talks Decisive

“Last ditch” talks were scheduled here today between representatives of the Histadrut, Israel’s labor federation, and representatives of the Haifa port stevedores, after a Government ultimatum yesterday that it would close the Haifa port if the dock workers did not return to normal work schedules within two days.

After six weeks of a slowdown which has crippled the port, there were indications today that the slowdown would be ended before the weekend. The dockers yesterday asked for a three-man commission, consisting of Haifa Mayor Abba Khoushy and one representative each of the Government and the Histadrut, to examine their demands. They said they would end the slowdown if such a commission was created.

The talks tonight will be headed by Aharon Becker, Histadrut general secretary, and leaders of the stevedores, with Mayor Khoushy and Transport Minister Moshe Carmel invited to participate. As a goodwill gesture, the dockers agreed last night to exempt from their slowdown tactics a half dozen ships carrying exhibits for the Levant Fair opening in Tel Aviv on June 24. The gesture was made to avoid “harm to Israel’s foreign relations.”

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