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An early retirement and pension program will replace, at least for now, wide-scale layoffs that El Al management had sought as part of the firm's recovery program, TheMarker learned yesterday. 

The new plan calls for 170 workers to take early retirement in 2007 in addition to over 100 workers who had been slated to leave earlier this year as part of a previous deal. Management had wanted to lay off 900 workers. 

Negotiations are covering conditions of the new early retirement program. 

The old plan focused on workers with 20 or more years of experience and between the ages of 55 and 64 for men, and over 50 for women. These workers were to receive pension payments worth 70 percent of their regular pension until they turn 65. Younger workers with 20 or more years of experience were entitled to double severance pay. 

El Al said that it is working with workers' representatives in the framework of its recovery program. "Beyond that, the company does not manage negotiations through the press."