TEL AVIV (Jun. 15)
Some 60,000 government employees who went on strike Tuesday returned to their jobs Wednesday morning, but threats of a paralyzing public-sector walkout continued.
Histadrut stood by its two-week notification, given Tuesday, of a general strike involving some 300,000 workers.
Finance Minister Moshe Nissim, however, has not given ground in face of a new wave of labor strife. He refuses to consider wage and salary demands in the public sector beyond the nominal 3-percent increase offered by the Treasury.
To do so, he maintains, would threaten the foundations of the country’s economy and the government’s war on inflation.
The workers are demanding larger pay increases and shorter work weeks without loss of income.
Meanwhile, about 130,000 unionized engineers, technicians and academicians, who were expected to go out on strike Thursday, suddenly backtracked and announced that they would continue working as usual.
They said, however, that they would “certainly” join the general Histadrut strike of the entire public sector whenever it was called.
Tuesday’s strike had wide-ranging effects. It shut down almost all public services, from railroads to the Interior Ministry’s marriage license bureau. But it was short-lived, lasting only 24 hours.