Dentists and other staffers at the dental clinics of Meuhedet Health Services have launched a strike, the Histadrut announced on Sunday. “The workers are not checkers pieces. We will not agree to the shifting around of staffers and harm to their livelihood or job security,” said works committee head Shela Ventura Ashkenazi.The union claimed there was “foot dragging” in negotiations between them and the health fund management, “which functions unilaterally without consulting the workers.” The strike resulted from the health fund’s decision to withdraw from agreement reached during negotiations, the union said. As a result, workers expect wages of dentists will be reduced, dental hygienists will have a lower status and work quotas for employees’ vacation days. Many tens of thousands of Meuhedet members use the clinics’ services.Last February, the two sides signed a new collective agreement that did not include dental clinic employees. Management said these were employed according to the number of patients they treated and the kind of treatments they received. After intensive talks, an agreement was reached in principle, but management reversed itself. Ashkenazi said the clinic employees were left with no choice but to start striking “until management returns to the negotiating table.”Management of the third-largest health fund did not issue a statement.