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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK
Deal ends Israel general strike
Israeli general strike earlier in 2007
Israel has seen three public sector strikes in eight months
Israel's biggest trade union has called off a general strike that shut down public services after a deal with the finance ministry on pay increases.

The head of the Histadrut union and the finance minister sat up through the night to reach the 5% settlement.

Histadrut represents hundreds of thousands of public sector workers.

Tel Aviv airport, Israel's main link with the outside world, was due for inclusion in the strike on Thursday, but it will now stay open.

"I am happy that the finance minister (Ron Bar-On), who sat with us all night and tried to overcome the differences, was able to come to an understanding," said Histadrut leader Ofer Eini.

Mr Bar-On agreed: "I am happy ... that Histadrut head Eini showed responsibility and openness towards an agreement which represents the demands of workers as well as the needs of the economy."

Histadrut had been demanding a 10% public sector pay increase, with the government initially offering 1%.

Israel has suffered three general strikes in eight months, paralysing the country. Government offices shut down entirely and state-run utilities operate on skeleton staff, carrying out no repairs or maintenance.

July is a time of peak travel for Israeli families and the airport had wanted to squeeze 120 flights, carrying 20,000 passengers, into the 12 hours before the planned strike.


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