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While Israel Discount Bank management has become used to its workers' committee making extravagant demands, the latest one managed to surprise owners just the same.

The committee is demanding that workers receive overtime pay but opposes the installation of time clocks. Management has conditioned the overtime pay, which it estimates will cost the bank NIS 30 million annually, on the clocks, in order to verify that it is paying for actual hours worked. Committee head Riki Bachar insists on relying on the current method, in which branch managers supply individual reports of each worker's hours.

The committee is also demanding that the workforce be expanded by 200 and a bonus be granted based on first-half 2004 results, the latter being an unprecedented request, which management refuses to bend on. Regarding expansion, management retorted that, if anything, there are 600 superfluous employees on the payroll. The bank will launch its early retirement program next week, with dozens expected to take advantage of the plan.