Over 1,000 medical residents, students protest in TA

Demonstration ahead of High Court discussion on mass resignation by residents; protesters call for Netanyahu to solve current crisis.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
October 24, 2011 19:21
2 minute read.
Physicians demonstate outside Knesset [file]

Doctors demo311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Over 1,000 medical residents were joined by students at all the medical schools in the country at a demonstration held Monday outside Beit Ariela in Tel Aviv.

The demonstration was held ahead of a discussion at The High Court on the resident's petition against a court injunction stopping their mass resignation.

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The students skipped their first day classes to demonstrate their support for medical residents who are demanding higher wages and better conditions.

During the demonstration, protesters called for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to solve the current crisis.

Professional doctors, social protest movement leaders and family members also joined the protest to lend their support for the protesting residents.

The residents have tried to resign collectively, but they have been barred from doing so by the National Labor Court.

The Treasury had invited representatives of the young doctors for yet another negotiating session on Sunday, but the residents said they would not turn up because they understood no new proposals would be raised. The residents plan to take the refusal to allow them to resign to the Supreme Court.

Earlier on Monday, nurses at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon walked out of their units in the hospital Monday and medical students were expected to join medical residents as part of a strike from their studies as the crisis in the medical system continues.

Some 30 nurses at Wolfson walked out in protest of overcrowding in their departments. The nurses union has declared a labor dispute at the hospital and in another nine days will be able to hold a strike in the entire hospital, Israel Radio reported.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon, the High Court of Justice began debating a petition filed by five doctors, which asks the High Court to annul the National Labor Court's ruling earlier this month that doctors' resignations were invalid.

One of the five is Dr Yona Weissbuch, a resident at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva and chairman of Mirsham, the advocacy group that campaigned for the doctors' resignations.

In its ruling, the National Labor Court said that doctors' resignations were collective in nature and constituted an illegal strike, and issued a sweeping injunction ordering doctors to return to work.

However, the petition argues that the National Labor Court's ruling amounts to "modern day slavery" and violates the Basic Law on Freedom of Employment.

The petitioners also contend their resignation letters were personal and not part of any collective dispute; that their working conditions contravene the law; that the Labor Court has injured their basic rights; and that the Labor Court ruling had been 'fundamentally flawed'.

In its 64-page response to the doctors' petition submitted to the High Court on Monday evening, the state countered that the doctors' resignations constituted collective organizational measures.

"This is not a fight for the future of public health, but a demand for a salary increase," the state said in that response.


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