El Al Grounded for 30 Days

El Al’s government appointed Board of Directors voted last night to continue the shutdown of the national airline for another 30 days, during which plans will be drawn up for the probable closing down of the airline.

El Al has been grounded since early this month when management reacted to a wildcat strike by halting all passenger flights. The strike was sparked by the dismissal of stewards after they refused to sell tax-free goods to passengers unless they were given higher commissions for the sales. The airline’s difficulties in addi- tion to declining revenues, were compounded when the government banned Sabbath and Jewish holiday flights. The airline Board’s plan now is to restructure the company, reopening it on a different basis and possibly even under a new name. The new airline will presumably also not have any Sabbath or holiday flights.

Employees have been told they are now on their annual vacations and will therefore receive wages or salaries at basic rates, without overtime benefits. The Board was reported to have wanted to dismiss many workers but was instructed by the government not to take such drastic steps as the Cabinet is not interested in increasing the unemployment rolls at the present juncture.

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