New Wave of Strikes Begins

The new wave of labor strife anticipated in the wake of the government’s latest economic measures materialized today in Haifa and adjacent regions, Haifa port was paralyzed by a two-hour walkout of dock workers protesting the sharp price increases that followed the 10 percent devaluation of the Pound and the new sales taxes decreed by the government this week.

Of more serious consequences was the incipient rebellion against Histadrut by its own rank and file who alleged that the labor federation, has been cowed by the government into accepting measures that impose the heaviest burdens on wage earners.

Eight industrial plants in the Haifa region belonging to Koor Industries, a Histadrut-owned holding company, were hit by a one-hour work stoppage this morning. The workers were expressing their resentment over the way Histadrut has dealt with the situation. The eight struck plants employ thousands in the Haifa area, long a trade union stronghold. If Histadrut, which has lost face by the failure of the government to consult its leaders before announcing the now economic measures, loses control over its own members, labor chaos will ensue in Israel, observers said.

The dookworkers’ strike followed a stormy meeting of the Haifa Labor Council last night, Uriel Abrahamowitz, chief of Histadrut’s trade union department, was hooted off the platform when he tried to explain to the workers the meaning of the government’s measures and the attitude of Histudrut. The strike halted the loading and discharge of cargoes at Israel’s largest port for two hours, resulting in serious lessen to shipping companies and the port authorities. The Histadrut leadership, however, is standing by its decision to wait one month for developments before deciding what action to take on the government’s economic measures. (By Yitzhak Shargil)

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