TEL AVIV (Jun. 24)
Histadrut and the Finance Ministry signed a new wage agreement today, halting the wave of strikes and slowdowns that threatened to engulf the entire public sector.
According to the pact, signed after 24 hours of continuous negotiations, each side yielded something The extent of pay increases was not immediately clear but the Treasury reportedly agreed to slightly higher salaries than it would have preferred.
But the increases will be paid only with August and September salaries which are due on September I and October I respectively. The senior faculty at the iversities dropped demands for a six percent increase in order to preserve the jobs of hundreds of junior lecturers facing dismissal.
Radio and television technicians, on strike since last week, returned to their jobs voluntarily and broad casting was back to normal after a weekend of recorded music interspersed with brief newscasts. Earlier in the day, the government had issued a back-to-world order at the behest of Justice Gavriel Bach, chairman of the Central Elections Committee. The strike threatened to black-out the election campaign, depriving the public of vital information on the positions of all parties.
SOME STILL HOLD OUT
The civil servants union, the clerks and government employed technicians agreed to the new wages. But several professional unions are holding out for higher increases.
The Cabinet met today before the pact with Histadrut was finalized. Finance Minister Yigal Cohen-Orgad briefed his colleagues on the status of the negotiations. After the session, Likud ministers met privately to discuss economic measures aimed at pleasing the voters before election day.
Meanwhile, the Coordinating Committee of private employers and manufacturers appealed to the Bank of Israel today to lower interest rates which they claimed were the highest in the world. The committee said that high bank charges and interest rates made it impossible for local industries to compete abroad.