Senior Histadrut labor federation official Avi Nissenkorn on Thursday declared a work dispute on behalf of employees of the Hadassah Medical Organization.

In two weeks, he will be able to tell the labor federation to take industrial action in hospitals around the country, causing disruptions to pressure the Treasury to allocate more money and reach a deal for the HMO’s financial recovery.

The work dispute will affect all the public hospitals and employees of two of the four health funds, Clalit Health Services and Kupat Holim Meuhedet.

Nissenkorn, the Histadrut’s deputy secretary- general and the designate for secretary-general, said “the dealings of the Finance Ministry regarding HMO have led the entire public health system into a deep crisis. It cannot be that in the end, the simple workers and Jerusalem residents will have to pay for the shortcomings. I call on the Treasury and the Health Ministry to solve the crisis.”

HMO has a debt of NIS 1.3 billion that grows by more than NIS 300 million a year. The Jerusalem District Court held yet another hearing on the crisis on Thursday. Judge David Mintz gave the sides two more weeks to reach an agreement and told them to present another report on their negotiations on April 30. He called on the sides to be “more active” in reaching an agreement to keep HMO running and become healthier financially.

If there is no accord by then, the lawyers appointed to run HMO as trustees will have to present a unilateral recovery program. Then there will be a meeting of Hadassah employee representatives, the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America (which owns HMO) and suppliers to whom much money is owed, for a decision on HMO’s future. But dismantling HMO, if it occurs, would take a long time.

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