TEL AVIV (Jul. 9)
Israel was hit by wildcat strikes today and a three-hour work stoppage by some 60,000 government employes this morning.
The latest rash of labor strife was to protest the government’s emergency economic program which has among its elements a three-month wage freeze and dismissals of about 10,000 government and other public employes. Today’s round of strikes was not authorized by Histadrut which has been in intensive discussion with the government for the past two days.
Premier Shimon Peres, Finance Minister Yitzhak Modai and Yisrael Kessar, Secretary General of Histadrut, met for the second consecutive day but little progress was reported toward a compromise on the tough economic measures.
Meanwhile, employes of the Israel Electric Corp. and the government-owned Bezek Telephone Corp. walked off their jobs today in strikes called by their respective unions. Seamen of the State-owned merchant marine also struck but their action did not affect Israeli ships at sea or in foreign ports.
RADIO AND TV BLACKED OUT
The electric company operated on an emergency Sabbath schedule. Power stations were staffed by skeleton crews but line repairs and new installations were halted. The telephone strike had the most far-reaching effects. Its engineers operate the radio and television transmitters.
Because of the walk-out radio and television were blacked out except for hourly news bulletins. The same thing happened just a week ago when a 24-hour general strike called by Histadrut last Tuesday all but silenced the media.
The Bezek strike also disrupted telephone service. Breakdowns were not repaired and operator-manned telephones, including the international switchboard were out of service.
Scuffles developed when about 3,000 government employes staged a mass meeting outside the government offices complex in Jerusalem. A group of demonstrators forcibly prevented two opposition Knesset members from addressing the crowd. Police intervened and several arrests were made.