Australia seeks to avert big communications tie-up

An arbitration hearing is scheduled today (Aug. 5) in the strike by telecommunications technicians, whose ban on repairing equipment threatens Australia with an international communications blackout.

About 500 technicians, members of the Professional Radio and Electronics Institute who are employed by the Overseas Telecommunications Commission, began refusing to repair breakdowns in equipment last week in support of wage claims. By Saturday night, blackouts began occurring in international telex, satellite news telecasts, and telephone and telegraph links to many countries.

The technicians are demanding wage raises of 8 percent and industrial al lowances of $32 per week.

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