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Israeli Manufacturers Reduce Working Hours to Cope with Unemployment

A number of Israeli manufacturers announced today that they have taken steps to reduce the increase in unemployment and intend to run their factories on a five-day-a-week basis. The working week here has been six days. The cut to five days was intended to obviate the need for the dismissal of some workers.

At the same time, the Israeli Manufacturers Association appealed to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol today that he convene a round-table conference of employers, organized workers and Government officials to bring about mutual agreement on implementation of a countrywide freeze on wages in 1967.

A 4 percent cost-of-living wage increase is to be put into effect next month. Leaders of Histadrut, the Israeli federation of labor, at a meeting yesterday attended by Mr. Eshkol, proposed that the increase be raised to 5 percent. The Premier, on the other hand, asked Histadurt to agree to cut the projected 4 percent increase to 2 percent.

Israel Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir announced today that, due to the higher costs of imported fodder, the price of milk would have to be raised in Israel. He said that the higher cost of milk had been delayed due to pressure by leaders of Histadrut. He promised, however, that prices on dairy products would be increased.

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