TEL AVIV (Oct. 20)
A 48-hour strike called by civil aviation and airport workers yesterday has delayed flights at Ben Gurion Airport. Of the 1,400 employes, only 600 returned to their jobs under a back-to-work order issued by a labor court.
The strike was called to protest “foot-dragging” by the government in negotiations over salaries and working conditions. Aircraft arrived and departed on schedule yesterday but prolonged delays were experienced this morning. The airport management distributed light refreshments to waiting passengers along with leaflets explaining the situation and expressing regrets.
Foreign airlines have introduced extra flights and larger aircraft to compensate for the grounding of El Al. The Israeli air carrier suspended service last month following a wildcat strike by flight attendants. While the departure boards indicated El Al flights today, they were by foreign aircraft chartered by the El Al management to cater for passengers who had purchased their tickets before the grounding.
The fate of El Al will be decided at this Sunday’s Cabinet meeting. The airline board recommended to the government yesterday that the carrier be placed in voluntary liquidation. The ministers are expected to accept the recommendation. But they will hold further discussions over the next few weeks to decide whether to reorganize El Al as a government-owned carrier or whether to sell it to private interests.