/** labr.global: 404.0 **/
** Topic: Israeli Strikers Blockade Finance Minister's Office **
** Written 8:07 PM May 16, 1997 by labornews in cdp:labr.global **
From: Institute for Global Communications <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Israeli Strikers Blockade Finance Minister's Office
JERUSALEM (May 15 - Some 30 local authority heads prevented people from entering Finance Minister Dan Meridor's office for two hours yesterday afternoon, in a protest against his ignoring their demands for increased budgets.
One of those turned away by the protesters was Industry and Trade Minister Natan Sharansky, who arrived for a meeting with Meridor but left after the local authority heads denied him entry.
Meridor and his senior staff were left angered by the incursion. "If they think this will make me compromise they are totally mistaken," Meridor told The Jerusalem Post last night.
The Union of Local Authorities (ULA, meanwhile, decided to step up its strike action today in an effort to force a solution to the local authorities' deficit problem. Yesterday, 252 of the 263 local authorities were on strike, providing no municipal services other than education and emergency services.
As of today, local authorities - probably including Rishon Lezion which, along with Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Givatayim, Herzliya, Ramat Gan and Bat Yam, had not been on strike - will cease education services.
Convoys of garbage trucks will also take to the road in various localities, and other protest actions will take place.
"There won't be a single resident of this country who will not feel this personally," the ULA leadership vowed.
The decision to expand the strike followed a meeting between Meridor and Interior Minister Eli Suissa, at which it was decided to transfer NIS 200 million to the local authorities to help them cover their debts.
But ULA leaders dismissed this as a "joke," noting that the accumulated debt of the local authorities now stands at NIS 4 billion and that dozens of local authorities have yet to pay their workers' April salaries.
Judy Siegel adds:
The 700 doctors at the two Hadassah-University Hospitals will strike today, instituting a minimal Shabbat schedule. The intensified sanctions at the Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus hospitals were called as a "protest against management's unilateral actions against the doctors and now managements threatens mass dismissals."
Hadassah management has been demanding that the doctors take a fair share in its recovery program to make up the current deficit of NIS 187 million.