Movement to Waive Pay Increases by Wage Earners in Israel Fails

A much-heralded public movement by Israeli wage-earners to waive pay increases in the fight on Israel’s inflation, which involved a pledge by the Government to match pound for pound all such pledges, quietly sputtered out today. Leaders of the program, headed by Mrs. Beba Idelson of Mapai, met with members of the Cabinet and the central committee of the Histadrut, Israel’s labor federation, to report failure. It appeared that the whole effort would be put aside.

The arrangement called for the Government to provide matching funds for all sums waived and frozen in Israel’s central bank with anticipated waivers of a total of 10, 000, 000 pounds ($3, 333, 000). To date, only 5, 000 pounds ($1, 600) has been deposited. Only 20 of the 180 groups and committees which committed themselves to arrange for such waivers by members actually did so.

The leadership of the Mapai Achdut Avodah alignment, the most powerful faction in the Israel Government, will meet this week to consider a social welfare program related to Israel’s cost-of-living allowance program. Alignment leaders voted last week at a secret meeting to oppose the semi-annual cost-of-living payments scheduled for this month.

The projected program, for the next year or more, would take into account the question of compensation to beneficiaries for price increases. Alignment sources said that by this approach, it was hoped to include benefits normally provided under the cost-of-living program. The proposed social welfare program would provide higher old age pensions and increased family allowances, particularly for wage earners in the low income group.

The Histadrut,reported today that 20, 000 of the 90, 000 workers who went out on strike during 1965 were employed in Histadrut enterprises. The Histadrut central committee also reported that 40, 000 of the 200, 000 work days lost in those strikes were suffered by Histadrut enterprises and offices.

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