TEL AVIV (Dec. 30)
The El Al management signed an agreement with ground maintenance workers at midnight last night removing yet another obstacle to the continued operation of the airline. The ground crews agreed to waive certain wage demands and pledged to refrain from strikes or work slowdowns for the next five years.
El Al, a consistent money-loser in recent years, was threatened with imminent closure by the government until last week when the pilots union, representing the highest paid employes, accepted 20-40 percent cuts in their salaries.
This opened the way to negotiations with other employe groups. The Cabinet set a deadline which expires in less than 48 hours for the satisfactory conclusion of those negotiations. The El Al management now believes that acceptable agreements will be reached by then with flight attendants and pursers.
El Al lost $60 million this year and is expected to lose almost double that amount in 1980. But managing director Avraham Shavit predicted today that the air line will be in the black by 1981.