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Strike Paralyses Israel’s Overseas Communications, Silences Radio, Television

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A three-day strike of government-employed engineers and technicians began today causing a partial shutdown of overseas communications and a disruption of flights at Lydda Airport with a worsening situation likely should the strike continue. Labor Minister Yosef Almogi’s last minute efforts to avert the strike yesterday were unsuccessful. He was scheduled to meet tonight with a delegation of strikers in a new attempt to end the walk-out.

Meanwhile Israel was without its regular radio and television programs except for brief news broadcasts. Local telephone service is functioning but not overseas telephones. Cable offices and the Telex system continue to operate for the time being and railroads are functioning normally. But repair men will not be available should breakdowns occur.

Lydda Airport was hard bit. The strikers are permitting contact with foreign airports but only to receive meteorological data. No other communication pertaining to flight operations are allowed. Vital water and electricity supplies are not affected by the strike.

The main issue is a new government regulation under which jobs now filled by practical engineers and technicians would have to be filled by licensed engineers in the future. The current job-holders fear this world affect their chances for promotion and ultimately their wages.

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