Maintenance Personnel Strike El Al; Histadrut Denounces Action; Flights Cancelled

A series of “Job actions” by maintenance personnel in support of wage demands has crippled El Al service out of Lydda Airport for the second consecutive day. The airline was forced to cancel four of its eight scheduled flights today and yesterday and further curtailments are likely unless the issue is settled quickly. Airline workers flatly turned down a proposal offered by Histadrut today and negotiations were suspended for the time being. The El Al management meanwhile has locked out the employees involved in what it calls an “Italian strike.” The workers have been engaging in stoppages and other actions that have the effect of disrupting flight schedules. Histadrut, Israel’s labor federation, has denounced the “job actions” and termed the wage demands “outrageous.” According to Histadrut officials the El Al employees are “not fighting for bread” but only to increase their incomes which the union apparently thinks are adequate. Histadrut helped the El Al management end a strike by airline ground technicians and maintenance workers last month. Concern was expressed for its “image” if the work stoppages continue. The El Al management claims however that its passengers are loyal and prefer to delay their trips rather than be transferred to other airlines.

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