Hospital workers protest plight of caregivers

Treasury says since Holocaust survivors are elderly, caregivers are classified as "temporary" workers, not entitled to government benefits.

Hospital beds 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Hospital beds 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Workers assemblies will be held between 10 a.m. and noon on Wednesday at all psychiatric hospitals as a show of support for employees at hostels for Holocaust survivors.
The 400 caregivers at three hostels are forced to work for contractors rather than have the status and benefits of government workers.
The Treasury has explained that since Holocaust survivors are very elderly, the project is “temporary,” thus the caregivers cannot be state workers – a statement that aroused fury in the Histadrut and elsewhere.
The Histadrut threatened to intensify sanctions at the three hostels – Pardesiya, Shaare Menashe and Beer Ya’acov – if the Treasury does not accede to its demands. Since last week, the caregivers have been observing a reduced emergency schedule but are still taking care of the elderly patients, who also suffer from psychiatric problems.
Welfare and Social Services Ministry director-general Nachum Itzkovitz told The Jerusalem Post while abroad last week that he would hold talks with relevant officials to obtain state worker status for the caregivers, as this would ensure the best care for the survivors. He said the Treasury’s statement about it being a “temporary project” was thoughtless and in bad taste.
On Tuesday morning, X-ray technicians in the government hospitals held sanctions in solidarity with the hostel caregivers.
The Histadrut called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – who is formerly health minister and who during a visit to Pardesiya promised to improve the status of workers – to freeze the public tender to choose a new contractor to hire the caregivers and to make them government employees instead.