El Al Hit by 24-hour Strike

A 24-hour strike by some 120 technical foremen grounded all El Al flights as of 2 p.m. local time today. The airline’s management, meanwhile, is attempting to work out alternate flights for its passengers on foreign carriers. The walk-out is the latest in a series of labor-troubles that has buffeted Israel’s national airline in the past year causing losses estimated at millions of dollars.

The El Al management branded the strike an unwarranted and illegal violation of labor contracts. The foremen, whose signatures must be appended to documents attesting to an aircraft’s flight worthiness before it can take off, are demanding an adjustment of their wages and fringe benefits in line with improvements recently won by other El Al employes. The foremen charge specifically that their authority is undermined because the gap has been narrowed between their wages and those of their subordinates. Three scheduled flights were cancelled today as a result of the strike, and seven more may be cancelled tomorrow unless work is resumed before early afternoon.

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