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"Eighty percent of the companies in the Western Galilee are in danger of closing. In the past three months, 600 workers have been fired from area factories and most plants have moved to a four-day workweek," said the Histadrut labor federation chairman for the Western Galilee yesterday.

"The catastrophe is continuing, but it's not in the headlines, because usually the issue isn't the closure of a single plant but rather serious problems at several," said chairman Asher Shmueli.

Shmueli was speaking at a trade union and business convention in Nahariya.

"I am currently negotiating with the management at six food and metal plants in the Western Galilee. Employers tell me they're not getting new orders, or that existing orders are being postponed or canceled due to the economic crisis, and I can't help them."

According to the union leader, most Western Galilee firms have introduced labor reduction measures, such as scaling back the workweek and cutting overtime quotas. He said that while wages have dropped by about 20% as a result, the moves have prevented employee dismissals.

"Israel's war isn't only the military fronts in the north and the south, it's also every family's battle for economic survival," Shmueli said.