Postal Engineers, Civil Aviation Workers, End Strikes

A six-day long wildcat strike by postal engineers ended this evening after the workers were assured that their demands for higher wages and improved conditions would be negotiated in good faith. The strikers had agreed early this morning to return to work on the promise of renewed negotiations. But the truce was in effect barely 30 minutes when the engineers walked out again because of remarks by Transport and Communications Minister Shimon Peres implying that they could expect no new offers.

Peres, appearing on a radio program, warned the workers not to “delude themselves” that the renewed negotiations “will bring benefits which are not in line with the signed agreements that the workers are contesting.” He was referring to collective labor agreements recently negotiated between the government and the civil service unions.

The second walk-out ended after Histadrut Secretary General Yitzhak Ben Aharon promised the workers that the new negotiations would not be bound by earlier agreements. The six-day strike blacked out Israel’s television system and played havoc with telephone and telex communications as workers refused to repair equipment that broke down.

Traffic at Lod Airport was back to normal today following the settlement late Saturday night of a two-and-a-half day strike by civil aviation workers, the longest aviation strike in Israel’s history. The strike ended when the government agreed to meet some of the wage demands and to negotiate others. El Al managed to rush out seven flights before midnight Saturday while foreign airlines, alerted in advance that the end of the strike was in sight, flew in their planes to be ready for Sunday take-offs.

By this morning an estimated 10,000 passengers who had been delayed by the strike were flown out of Lod and normal schedules were resumed. The 60-hour walkout had suspended all traffic at Lod and other airports except for military flights and flights bringing in immigrants.

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