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Strikes Blanket Israel; 36,000 out

January 3, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Thirty-thousand engineers and technicians and 6000 government hospital employes went on strike today in support of demands for higher wages. The failure of last minute efforts to settle the disputes left Israelis with partially blacked-out television screens, radios silent except for brief hourly news bulletins and the threat of curtailed power supplies and disrupted telephone and telex communications. The walk-out by hospital administrative and catering employes halted health services at 22 government hospitals except for emergencies and cases involving members of the security forces.

The engineers and technicians called a 24 hour “warning strike” after meetings last night with Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir, Labor Minister Yosef Almogi and other government officials ended in deadlock. The engineers, who are demanding a 74 percent wage hike in the highest job categories rejected a government proposal to let a special committee work out new wage scales.

Power stations, telephone and telex exchanges continued to function today but without supervisors and without maintenance men to make repairs if break-downs occur. Television programming was limited to the Arabic program and the Hebrew news.

Histadrut officials and Health Minister Victor Shemtov tried in vain last night to avert the hospital strike. The workers are demanding that government hospitals accept the recent recommendations of a special inquiry committee, including higher wages, which have already been accepted by Kupat Holim. the Histadrut sick fund, and non-government hospitals. Shemtov argued that the recommendations were not binding and advised the workers to negotiate a new wage scale with the hospitals, but the hospital employes remained adamant. There were no signs this afternoon of further contacts between the workers and government and civil service representatives.

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