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Israel’s Labor Strife Eased but Not Ended

Labor strife that has plagued Israel for the past week has eased somewhat but not all of the public sector has returned to normal and threats of strikes and work slowdowns persist.

Striking Electric Corp.employes were back on the job Friday, restoring full power after a week of sporadic blackouts around the country. They apparently failed to achieve any major benefits from their walkout.

Foreign Ministry staff, on strike since the begining of the month, obeyed a court order and retumed to their job. But about 300 of them sported buttons proclaiming, “I am working under the coercion of a back-to-work order.”

Striking clerks of the rabbinical courts who created havoc last week by refusing to issue marriage licenses or divorce decrees have also returned to work at the urging of the Chief Rabbinate which promised to help adjudicate their wage dispute. The rabbinical court workers are demanding the same pay as civil court clerks.

Life guards are back on the job on the Tel Aviv beaches, just in time to cope with peak summer crowds. The Haifa oil refineries are functioning after a four-day work stoppage, but only with skeleton crews ordered by the courts to fill tank trucks with fuel for delivery to gasoline stations and factories.

MORE STRIKES THREATENED

Striking meteorologists have resumed their weather forecasts, but only on a limited basis. Radios and television screens came alive over the weekend as broadcast journalists reached agreement with the State-owned Broadcast Authority for a wage scale equal to that of print journalists. But administrative employes of the Broadcast Authority are continuing their sanctions and many scheduled programs have yet to return to the air. Israeli viewers can be certain only of electioneering . The Supreme Court has ordered that the nightly half hour allotted to the political parties for their campaign messages must not be interrupted.

Meanwhile, some 60,000 government-employed engineers and academicians in the social sciences remained on strike in a dispute with Histadrut and the government over a wage agreement concluded last month which they refuse to accept.

Clerks at the Israel Discount Bank have threatened a 24-hour strike this week and junior high school reachers are warming of sanctions that may delay the opening of the new school year in September.

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