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Final Text of Wage-price-tax Freeze is Formally Signed

The final text of the three-month wage-price-tax freeze package agreement was signed in the Prime Minister’s Office tonight after a last minute delay arising from differences between Histadrut and the Employers Association.

Premier Shimon Peres, who played a major role in negotiating the freeze package, said the final version did not differ much from the draft initialed last Friday by representatives of labor, management and the government. It was signed tonight by Histadrut Secretary General Yisrael Kessar and Eli Hurwitz, chairman of the Employers Coordinating Committee.

A last minute hitch had developed over Histadrut’s demand that the freeze on wages should not apply to special payments to compensate wage-earners for the erosion of their income during the past six months owing to inflation. Those payments are covered in existing labor agreements. The matter will be hammered out by a special committee.

AGREE TO BEAR HARDSHIPS

Peres noted at the signing ceremony that all three parties have agreed to bear hardships to restore the country’s economic health. Workers will forego one-third of their monthly cost-of-living increments during the freeze period.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry meanwhile published a list of several hundred basic consumer items and the maximum prices allowed during the three month freeze. There will be severe penalties for violators. The list was signed by Justice Minister Moshe Nissim, standing in for Minister of Commerce and Industry Ariel Sharon who left for the U.S. this morning to attend a court hearing in his libel suit against Time magazine.

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