The conflict at the Jerusalem Post has stepped up as striking employees exchanged blows with security guards hired by the management.

Workers striking over the daily's intention of firing 23 of its 32 print workers barricaded themselves at the entrance to the Jerusalem Post facility on Thursday. The workers have been joined by their families, and threaten to disrupt work at the paper.

Histadrut labor federation representative Avinoam Magen said the management had hired "violent thugs" to evacuate the barricaded workers by force. He said one of the labor representatives had been evacuated to hospital after a sound beating.

"The management has crossed all the lines in the sand," Magen said.

The chairman of the Jerusalem Post workers' committee, Moshe Malka , said on Thursday that for days the management had prevented print workers from getting in to do their jobs. The paper is being printed at two external print shops, in Ramallah and in Petah Tikvah.

No comment could be obtained from Jerusalem Post manager Mark Ziman.

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