TEL AVIV (Dec. 16)
A threatened strike of 400,000 government employes — about one-third of Israel’s work force — was averted shortly after midnight today, only hours before it was to begin. Representatives of the Treasury and Histadrut agreed to continue talks. But the work stoppage, which threatened to be open-ended unlike the 48-hour walkout last week, was not cancelled but only postponed.
The two sides are still arguing about the extent of wage and salary increases to be granted to civil servants, and a new basis for cost of living increases with special payments to make up for the erosion of real incomes due to inflation.
Treasury officials, reportedly alarmed by the 6.5 percent increase in the cost of living index for November, announced by the Central Bureau of Statistics, said they had expected an increase of only 5-5.5 percent.
The November increase means that a 21.7 percent C.O.L. increase will be included in January salaries, due for payment on February 1.