Union Backs Workers Fired for Falling to Report to Work During Two Weeks of Shelling

The Kiryat Shemona works committee of local municipal employees has threatened to call a general strike in the township it five workers dismissed by the government-appointed local council are not immediately reinstated. The five were dismissed because they left the town and failed to report for work during the two weeks of rocket fire and shelling by Palestinians which ended with last Friday’s cease-fire.

The council said their absence without permission cast a heavy burden on other municipal employees, mainly senior personnel, who stayed on and worked 20 hours a day trying to maintain municipal services. The workers committee said there was no law ordering anybody to continue work under shellfire. They also say the police and army ordered all residents to remain in shelters.

According to some reports, well over 80 percent of the residents of Kiryat Shemona left the town for safer areas further south during the shelling. Most of them complained the government had failed to take adequate precautions by providing suitable shelter accomodation in advance of any measures taken in Lebanon which might have resulted in retaliatory action by the terrorists for any length of time.

For the past year, Kiryat Shemona has been run by a government-appointed mayor and council following the dismissal of the elected mayor and town council on grounds of inefficiency. Residents are demanding the re-appointment of the elected body, claiming that government appointees from outside the township cannot properly look after local interests.

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