Doctors, Treasury talks on wages end without progress

IMA rejects offer of 20 percent wage hike; major demonstration to be held in Jerusalem just outside the Knesset.

April 27, 2011 05:15
1 minute read.
Doctors in the OR

doctors operating room 311. (photo credit: HBL)


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Negotiations between representatives of the Finance Ministry and the Israel Medical Association ended late Tuesday night without results.

During the meeting, the IMA rejected an offer by the Finance Ministry to increase doctor's wages by 20 percent, saying that the offer was only one percent higher than the previous bid.

Analysis: Our doctors’ recurring condition

The sides agreed to meet again on Thursday.

After a two-week respite from sanctions by the Israel Medical Association, which is demanding a new wage agreement for some 20,000 doctors in the public sector, a major demonstration is scheduled for Wednesday in Jerusalem just outside the Knesset.

Inside, the plenum will hold a special session for, among other things, discussing the doctors’ crisis, even though parliament is still officially on vacation.

The IMA, chaired by Dr. Leonid Eidelman, said Tuesday that it was not impressed by the public “intervention” – his first so far – by Prime Minister and Health Minister Binyamin Netanyahu since the IMA launched sanctions a few weeks ago.

But even though it was described to the media as “Netanyahu’s intervention,” there was no mention on it on the Prime Minister’s Office website, and the statement was reportedly from the Finance Ministry, which is conducting talks with the IMA.

However, Health Ministry officials were told that the prime minister was in fact not intervening at all and was waiting to see how negotiations develop.

According to the Treasury announcement, Netanyahu “backed up” the Treasury’s demands that an integral part of a settlement involving wage increases would be the requirement that all doctors punch a time clock when starting and ending their time on the job.

The IMA has strongly opposed this demand, arguing that doctors are not clerks and that they do medical work for their employers outside their clinics and hospitals as well.

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