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Labor Turmoil Continues, More Expected

January 4, 1973
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Israel’s labor turmoil continued unabated today. While 30,000 engineers and technicians ended in 24-hour “warning strike” that caused a partial communications black out yesterday, a strike by 6000 government hospital employes entered its second day without signs of a settlement. Because of the strike, which involves administrative, maintenance and catering workers but not medical staff, many hospitals were sending patients home today and refusing to admit new patients except emergency cases.

The engineers ###while, warned that they would call a general strike next week if their wage demands are not met. The Journalists Association whose wages are keyed to the wage scale for engineers and technicians, announced that it would declare a labor dispute Sunday if the publishers continue to delay negotiations. The publishers say they cannot negotiate until the engineers’ wage dispute is settled.Port workers said today that they would begin a rule-book slowdown tomorrow and refuse to work overtime unless negotiations for a new wage agreement are speeded up. The threatened action would have a serious effect on Israel’s citrus exports which are at their peak at this time of year. But even if the dockworkers’ sanctions are averted, Israel’s seaports face a general strike by licensed-ships’ officers. The newly formed Maritime Officers Association which staged a 24-hour “warning strike” Monday, said it would call a general strike Jan. 17 if Histadrut failed to recognize their union by then.

The rash of strikes and threatened strikes as the New Year began is believed by observers here to reflect the widespread attitude by employes of government and quasi-government agencies that an election year is the opportune time to press for wage increases.

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