Tel Aviv labor court sides with striking doctors

Sanctions to continue next week as court refuses Treasury's demands for forced arbitration and restraining orders.

June 24, 2011 03:16
2 minute read.
Doctors protest outside the Knesset [file]

doctors protest 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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The Tel Aviv Regional Labor Court on Thursday evening rejected the Treasury’s demands for forced arbitration and restraining orders against the doctors, and urged it and the Israel Medical Association (IMA) to hold intensive negotiations to resolve the dispute that officially began in April.

Pleased by the ruling by Judge Michael Shpitzer, the IMA said it would continue to negotiate, but still apply sanctions from Sunday through Wednesday.

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The labor court president, after hearing the two sides and studying the documents, ruled that the current labor dispute is a “pure economic dispute” that should be resolved in intensive negotiations – not in forced arbitration.

The previous labor dispute that brought many months of sanctions in 2000-2001 ended in a no-strike agreement by the Israel Medical Association, but took eight-and-a-half years to implement an arbitrated agreement.

The IMA is demanding higher wages, fewer night and weekend shifts for medical residents and interns, better pensions and more manpower slots – especially in the periphery – while strongly opposing the Treasury’s demand that all doctors in the public system use timeclocks at work.

The Finance Ministry stated it turned to the labor court to reduce harm to the public.

“The negotiations with the IMA will continue next week and, if the damage to the public increases, the state will consider its steps.”

On Sunday, outpatient clinics, diagnostic institutes and day hospitals (except for oncology) will be closed from Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer and northward – including general, psychiatric and geriatric hospitals. However, physicians in these institutions will only be at work to “give advice.”

On Monday, outpatient clinics, diagnostic institutes and day hospitals (except for oncology) will be closed in the southern half of the country from Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and southwards. They include general, psychiatric and geriatric hospitals. The physicians will be present on Sunday.

On Tuesday, the same schedule will be in effect as Sunday’s in hospitals from Sheba, northwards.

On Wednesday, the Monday schedule will be in effect in Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and southwards.

Health fund clinics and district health offices will function as usual.

On Thursday, all public medical institutions will function normally, the IMA said.

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