Finance Minister Silvan Shalom called a press conference today to say that the Finance Ministry is negotiating with the Histadrut labor federation and employers to sew up a package economic agreement.

Shalom pointed out that the economy is under severe stress. If the treasury were to meet with all public-sector wage demands, the whole marketplace would founder.

The minister said that economic stability must not be taken for granted, and that the civil service employees had to understand that this is not the time to demand pay raises. He called on all the striking workers to return to regular work immediately and to negotiate with the government after the crisis passes.

The list of strikers includes Customs authority employees, workers of the Labor and Welfare Ministry, and university teaching staff.