El Al Slowdown Strands Thousands

The end of a 24-hour strike by E1 A1 mechanics and maintenance men Tuesday has not ended the labor troubles of Israel’s national airline. The wildcat walkout which E1 A1 managing director Mordechai Ben Ari said cost the carrier millions of Israeli Pounds, was followed by a rule-book work slowdown by the mechanics, creating a backlog of angry passengers at Ben Gurion Airport.

Only four of 13 scheduled E1 A1 flights were able to take off yesterday, and despite the charter of foreign planes to ease the burden, E1 A1 was faced today with some 2000 irate ticket holders demanding seats. Airline sources said that once this backlog is overcome, E1 A1 would be able to rearrange its schedules so as not to inconvenience other passengers if the slowdown continues, Ben Ari has demanded that Histadrut order the mechanics to resume normal work. The labor federation, which disapproved of the strike, has promised to help negotiate a settlement of the workers demands for higher wage allowances.

Meanwhile, hundreds of would-be air travellers nilled around the Ben Gurion Airport terminal in the hope of finding seats on planes. Tempers flared and fist-fights broke, out when the air conditioning system failed adding sweltering heat to the other woes of the stranded passengers.

Labor troubles are also affecting Israel’s telex and telegraphic communications. Employes demanding special pay for handling messages in languages other than Hebrew and English have instituted “sanctions.” They are refusing to work overtime and will not transmit messages to countries outside the English-speaking bloc.

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