The National Labor Court, headed by Judge Nili Arad, was due Tuesday night to
reconvene on discussing the nursing strike, after optimism about a settlement
with the Treasury on a 12 percent wage increase was dashed.
Union chief Ilana Cohen walked out of talks in the morning when Finance Ministry
officials insisted that the wage contract be in effect for five years. The
nurses said they would not agree to any contract that went beyond four
“Ilana Cohen had previously urged the government negotiators to
sit and talk until white smoke emerged, but she herself walked out,” said a
Although Treasury officials and Deputy Health
Minister Ya’acov Litzman had been insisting for weeks that no accord could be
signed until after the January 22 Knesset election – because the present
government could not force a new one to implement it – on Tuesday the
negotiators changed their tune and said they were willing to hike nurses’
salaries by 12 percent. In addition to the length of the contract, it was not
clear whether that increase would be differential – with younger nurses or those
in the periphery getting more.
The sanctions have caused the postponement
of tens of thousands of elective operations and other procedures, reduced the
number of nurses in hospital wards, kept nurses out of Clalit Health Services’
clinics on some of the days and halted services at schools, Tipat Halav
(wellbaby) clinics and district health offices.