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The Tel Aviv Municipality is trying to prevent a strike by the city's sanitation department which could lead to an almost total breakdown in garbage collection.

Most of the sanitation department's workers are employed directly by the municipality; outside contractors are responsible for garbage collection in only four neighborhoods.

The Tel Aviv municipality's workers' committee is threatening a strike if the crisis over the deputy head of the sanitation department, Boaz Sulami, is not solved. The municipality's auditor, Chaya Horowitz, found that Sulami had his time card punched for hours when he was not actually at work. The municipality's disciplinary court ruled that Sulami be suspended from his position for two years and the worker's committee and the municipality are currently disputing the terms of his employment in another position.

A workers' committee source said yesterday he believed the strike would go ahead and the Sulami affair was not the only matter of contention. City officials said there were no signs the crisis was about to be solved and that the municipality had no intention of backing an employee convicted of corruption.