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Short-lived Bus Strike

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A nationwide bus strike that kept thousands of workers from their jobs and students and teachers from their classrooms this morning, ended late this afternoon when the Dan and Egged bus cooperatives and government officials agreed to resume negotiations.

The strike was called at midnight when talks broke down over the amount of subsidies to be paid the bus co-ops in lieu of a fare hike. Dan and Egged threatened to defy a “back-to-work” order by a Tel Aviv Labor Court. Later in the day they heeded a call by Transport Minister Shimon Peres to end the strike after Peres authorized private car owners to accept, fares for carrying passengers. Dan provides the only bus service in Tel Aviv and environs. Egged serves all of the rest of the country.

The short-lived strike had a paralyzing effect because buses are the main form of public transportation in Israel where there are no commuter railroads. Chaotic situations developed in many areas this morning when job-holders unaware of the strike queued up at their bus stops but no buses came. Israel’s construction industry was hard hit because Arab workers from the administered territories had no way of getting to their jobs.

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