Mounting Opposition to Labor Bill

Rank and file opposition is building up against labor legislation approved today by the Histadrut Executive, though with less than unanimous support. Some 11 trade unions, all Histadrut affiliates, announced that they would bold a one-day strike to protest the wording of the measure designed to curb strikes which they consider anti-labor. The unions planning the protest represent nurses, biochemists, biologists, social workers, jurists, teachers, engineers and seamen.

Nevertheless, Labor Party delegates on the Histadrut Executive, supported by the religious workers and the Independent Liberals, easily outvoted Mapam, Gahal and the two Communist factions which oppose the bill for different reasons. The measure comes up for second reading in the Knesset this week.

Histadrut approved amendments that, were worked out in conference between the government and Histadrut leaders. One of them would permit an “authorized organization” to support a strike while labor contracts are still in effect. The rank-and-file say that “authorized organization” refers to the Histadrut Executive which they claim is a body made up of representatives of the various political parties, not of the workers. They demand that each individual trade union be given “authorized organization” status with the right to approve a strike. Mapam has backed the unions’ demands. Gahal opposes the measure because it is allegedly not tough enough in curbing strikes.

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