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Histadrut Orders 650, 000 Workers to Waive Cost-of-living Claims

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The central committee of the Histadrut, Israel’s labor federation, approved yesterday by a vote of 68 to 56 renunciation of a cost-of-living payment due July 1. The vote was in support of a decision by the Mapai-Achdut Avodah alignment in Israel’s coalition Government to forego the payment and provide increased welfare benefits instead.

The average for the cost-of-living index rose by seven percent during the first six months of 1966. Normally, such a rise, totaling more than three percent, would result in an increase in salaries of 700 pounds ($233) per month or less, retroactive to July 1. About 650, 000 employes will have to waive their increases in cost-of-living due to them under escalator clauses in wage agreements.

The Histadrut decision followed appeals by Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir, Labor Minister Yigal Allon and other Cabinet Ministers who asserted that cost-of-living allowance payments would undercut the Government’s program for economic independence.

Only the Mapai and Achdut Avodah representatives on the central committee voted to renounce the payment. It was opposed by former Premier David Ben-Gurion’s dissident Israel Workers Party (Rafi), the Arab Communists, the Jewish Communists, and Mapam. The Liberals abstained. Mapam’s vote could provoke a slight coalition unease, it was indicated. Premier Levi Eshkol will confer this week with Mapam leaders to straighten out differences and agree on a common policy.

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