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Massive Strikes Feared After Breakdown in Negotiations

June 22, 1984
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Israel faces a massive wave of strikes and work slowdowns next week following the breakdown of wage negotiations last night between Histadrut and public sector employers.

Trade union officials threatened to intensify industrial action, noting that the mandatory cooling-off period for 10 major unions ends this week and early next week. The Treasury sought to avert a crisis by offering Histadrut a 5-7 percent advance on July salaries if the trade union federation would guarantee labor peace until after the July 23 Knesset elections.

Histadrut refused to consider the offer. The Treasury for its part, rejected a series of labor demands which officials said would have cost the government $200 million. Finance Minister Yigal Cohen-Orgad appealed to Histadrut Secretary General Yisrael Keisar today to resume negotiations. Keisar questioned the Minister’s sincerity, noting that he made his appeal in a radio broadcast. He said he would meet with Cohen-Orgad only if a “proper” invitation is extended.

Meanwhile, labor unrest continued to simmer in much of the public sector. Project Renewal, the massive slum clearance project, was halted when workers suddenly took a week-long vacation. Government employed lawyers have suspended their preparation of cases, are not appearing in court and stopped issuing arrest orders.

Employes of the civil administration in the occupied territories are not issuing licenses and other documents. Post Office workers have suspended some mail deliveries and are not issuing postal savings balance statements. Work at some branch post office has been disrupted.

Customs officials began a work slowdown at Ben Gurion Airport. All arriving passengers are required to open their baggage for inspection, causing lengthy delays. At the Foreign Ministry, which was closed by a three day strike last week, employes are not transmitting coded messages. Consular services have been suspended and ministers arriving for work are faced with locked gates.

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