Pri Galil hasn't yet received the NIS 10 million in government assistance it was promised in February, and tempers are again stirring between the owners and workers at its canning plant in Hatzor Haglilit.

"Five months have passed since the decision, and we haven't even received 10 cents, not to mention NIS 10 million," said Chairman Oshik Ephraim. "It isn't clear exactly when they intend to transfer the promised money. In the next few days we'll sit down with our partners and decide which way to go. We won't wait on this too much longer."

In February the owners threatened to close down the plant, which employs many Hatzor residents. They went so far as to implement a lockout without prior notice. Under pressure, the government stepped in by instituting a bailout program for companies operating in struggling communities - it was tailor-made for Pri Galil.

Yona Partuk, chairman of the Histadrut labor federation's Northern Galilee District, said the owners were keeping the employees in the dark regarding any decisions or developments. He said they still hadn't been reimbursed for the two-day shutdown deducted from their salaries in February.

For its part, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry said that as soon as the government decided on the bailout program in February, it put out a call for applications to the program from companies qualifying for government assistance.

It said the deadline for submitting applications was reached two weeks ago, that it is now evaluating the applications, and that the approval committee will meet in August to decide. Ministry sources, however, said Pri Galil was the only company that applied.