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Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Histadrut labor federation head Amir Peretz met last night in the minister's office to try to end the labor trouble at Israel Discount Bank.

The meeting was held against a background of threats by the bank's union to intensify the industrial action which has harmed efforts to privatize Discount. Buyers are supposed to tender their bids for the bank next Tuesday, and the government is hoping a labor settlement can be reached in time to complete the process.

The Discount employees have three main demands before agreeing to privatization: maintaining the current collective work agreement for five years from the time of sale; limiting dividends and sales of bank assets for five years; and a bonus worth 10 monthly salaries. The employees have already been promised 10 percent of the bank's shares at a 25 percent discount.