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The Histadrut labor federation is on the verge of providing unprecedented financial support for striking bank workers. Its strike fund leadership decided yesterday to pay NIS 1,000 to each First International Bank of Israel clerk who participated in last June's strikes and work disruptions.

Histadrut chair Ofer Eini said the fund made the decision in response to FIBI management's announcement that it would dock a NIS 1,000 from the paychecks of each of its 1,800 clerks because of the work actions. Management also intends to reduce the bonus these workers receive by 20 percent for 2006 as a sanction.

"First International clerks are in a labor dispute declared by the Histadrut, and the strikes they partook in as part of the struggle with management were also approved by us", said Eini. "Therefore it's natural the Histadrut would assist them financially", he concluded.

Parallel to the Histadrut's assistance, the clerks union recently proposed a credit solution for bank workers. According to an agreement with LeumiCard, each worker will be able to receive an immediate loan between NIS 4,000 and their monthly salary, which they'll be able to return at preferred rates.

The FIBI dispute broke over worker demands to receive various bonuses and extend their collective bargaining agreement.