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The labor dispute that was announced at Israel Discount Bank a few weeks ago, accompanied by strike threats, is basically over, even if it has not ended officially.

The negotiations between the head of the union, Riki Bachar, and management have reached an agreement whereby employees would stop objecting to the extension of the branches' operating hours until 8 P.M.

The union claimed that workers were not able to implement the planned longer workday due to a lack of manpower. However, the new agreement will allow implementation without hiring new people.

Bachar refused to comment yesterday on the agreement itself, but did say that "the talks in the matter have reached an advanced stage." He added that there was no agreement that workers would receive a salary increase for implementing the plan.

This will be part of a larger deal, including bonuses for 5,000 workers for 2006. However, these bonuses will be based - for the first time - on the workers' contribution to the bank, and not just on their salary levels.

Each worker will receive the value of 1.5 monthly salaries as a bonus for 2006, and those whose efforts are considered above average will receive up to another 1.5 salaries, according to criteria set by their division heads. Until now all employees received the same bonuses.

Senior management bonuses will be computed according to different formulas, and will be significantly higher.