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Irate Labor Party workers are preparing to go on strike as they claim certain staffers are getting preferential treatment. The Histadrut labor federation declared a labor dispute at the party yesterday, a legal prerequisite for industrial action, including strikes.

As part of the Labor Party's cost-cutting exercise in 2003, 19 permanent staffers agreed to take a 15-percent wage cut and forego other benefits, after the party almost went bankrupt. But now the employees have discovered that workers close to the party chairman, Shimon Peres, and other ministers did not have their salaries cut.

Head of the party's headquarters, Rafi Elul said, "It is true there are workers who are employed not as part of the collective bargaining agreement, but on personal contracts." Elul promised to negotiate with the permanent staffers."