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Convention of Kibbutzim Backs Government-proposed Economic Changes

A resolution strongly endorsing the government’s proposed economic policy plans was adopted here last night by the national convention of Kibbutz Hameuhad, the organization of kibbutzim affiliated with Achdut Avodah, one of the partners in the coalition government. The convention, held at Kibbutz Yagur, near Haifa, was attended by 400 delegates representing 57 kibbutzim with a total of 24,000 members throughout Israel.

The government’s new economic program, the convention voted, deserves support as “a bold decision” needed to raise the country’s creative productivity and, thus, prevent unemployment. The organization supported the government’s call for aiding the competitive nature of Israeli products by increasing productivity.

Addressing the convention at an earlier session, Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir warned that the high cost of labor was strangling Israel’s export drive and indirectly leading to unemployment. Mr. Sapir said that direct and indirect labor costs accounted for 80 percent of the costs of production. Production costs, he noted, were higher in Israel than in Europe where output per man is 25 percent greater.

Mr. Sapir scored outdated norms as the bases of pay rates in Israel, which, he said, had to be adjusted to modern technology. He castigated the low profitability of enterprises operated by the Government and the Histadrut, Israel’s labor federation, asserting that “it is easier for such enterprises to run up deficits because they can be covered out of public funds. Public enterprises just go bankrupt and are turned over to the official receivers.”

In another resolution, the convention welcomed the establishment of the alignment between Achdut Avodah and Mapai, but declared that the political improvement is incomplete as long as Mapam fails to join and, thus, “complete labor unity.” The convention warned Israel on the problem of emigration from this country, decrying especially the emigration of Israelis with academic degrees.

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