Hadassah medical workers protest in Jerusalem, February 10, 2014..
(photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)
Nurses and administrative and maintenance workers at the two Hadassah-University Medical Centers will continue their minimal emergency schedule on Monday, but they will also try a new tactic – marching outside the home of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
The Histadrut labor federation said Sunday it had decided to do this after the Hadassah Medical Organization management and the Treasury “chose to show apathy” to the plight of 6,000 workers, including 1,300 physicians, who have not yet received their full January salaries.
Except for absolute lifesaving activities, all work in the hospitals’ departments between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Sunday ground to a halt as 1,000 employees walked off their jobs on the Ein Kerem campus and 500 more on the Mount Scopus campus. Then they returned, but only to work again in accordance with an emergency schedule.
Patients who didn’t absolutely have to be at Hadassah avoided going there, and instead streamed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center, which is working hard to cope with the overload.
The intensification of sanctions combined with the reduced Shabbat schedule is due to continue all week, as Hadassah staffers will daily abandon their departments and hold workers’ assemblies on campus and elsewhere, the Histadrut said.
Following Monday’s 9 a.m.
demonstration in the Rehavia/Talbiyeh quarter near the Prime Minister’s Residence, at 11 a.m. another protest will begin at Safra Square, the headquarters of the Jerusalem Municipality.
At 1 p.m., the Hadassah staffers will demonstrate at the western entrance to the city, near the Bridge of Strings.
HMO management, which is getting a total of NIS 100 million from the Treasury and the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America, will on Monday transfer only enough money to pay workers some 90% of their wages; by early February, they had received only half their salaries.
HMO director-general Avigdor Kaplan announced in a letter to all employees on Sunday evening that employees who earn up to NIS 10,000 gross a month would receive all of the second half of their salaries on Monday. The more they earn, the less of the remainder of their salaries they will get. Global overtime and other benefits will be canceled.
If Kaplan, who is paid NIS 99,000 a month, didn’t receive more than 50% of his January paycheck, he will get only 77.5% of his January pay on Monday.
While HMO could have cooled tempers and restored the hospital’s activities by asking the Jerusalem District Court for permission to deposit the rest of January salaries owed to employees and then try to reach an agreement with the unions, it has chosen not to do so; the court, by freezing all of HMO’s financial activities last week, makes it possible to actually lower salaries and dismiss hundreds of workers over the next three months as part of a recovery program.
Reacting to Sunday’s walkouts, the HMO spokeswoman called on all HMO employees to return to normal work Monday. “Every day that passes with more disruptions deepens the shock that has hit us and hurts the workers and the patients. We invite the works committees to intensive and continuous negotiations to reach a comprehensive recovery program and shorten the time needed for the freeze.”
Meanwhile, Health Minister Yael German has appointed an “investigation committee” to look into the causes of the Hadassah imbroglio and ways to prevent such crises in the future. It will be chaired by Avi Gabai, formerly head of the budgets division in the Treasury and later CEO of Bezeq and Bezeq International.
Other members will come from the Treasury and German’s own ministry.