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Israeli Port Workers Strike - 2003-09-30

Workers at Israel's main seaports have gone on strike, one day after about 50,000 public sector employees began their own job action.

The port workers began their protest against government privatization plans Tuesday after overnight talks with officials failed. They say the plans will cut jobs.

Haaretz newspaper reports about 40 ships were stranded outside Haifa and Ashdod ports earlier today. The public workers strike has caused delays at airports and hospitals.

The organizer of the public workers job action, the Histadrut labor federation, says it will not escalate unrest until after Yom Kippur on Monday.

Haaretz also quotes Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as saying the port workers' strike is a political move aimed at disrupting government work, but he added there are no plans to fire port workers.