Bid to Avert Public Sector Strike Continues Late into Tuesday Night

Negotiators representing the Treasury and the Histadrut labor federation met late into Tuesday night in an urgent effort to avoid a strike by some 400,000 public sector employees, scheduled for Wednesday.

According to late reports, there was still a 4 percent gap separating the federation’s wage demands and the Finance Ministry’s offer.

Histadrut announced two weeks ago there would be a general strike on July 6 involving government, municipality and public institution employees. The main issues are wages and working conditions.

Yaacov Danon, the Finance Ministry’s wage chief, is prepared to offer an 8 percent increase over two years. Histadrut is asking for 12 percent plus increases linked to the cost-of-living index.

An immediate issue under discussion was whether the strike, should it occur, would include the state-owned radio and television service.

It is especially important, because an electronic media blackout would coincide with the Herut Party Central Committee’s meeting Wednesday in Herzliya to finalize its 1988 election list.

The Labor Party’s convention last month received extensive radio and television coverage, as did the Herut meeting last week when the party selected its 35 Knesset candidates.

Herut has made clear that a blackout Wednesday would be regarded as sabotage of its most important proceedings by the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

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