By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
To the relief of workers, patients and their families at Clalit Health Servicesâ€š hospitals and clinics, the strike by 15,000 administrative, maintenance and technical staffers ended on Thursday after five days.
They will receive a total wage increase of eight percent in increments, plus 5% more as part of a wage agreement in the public sector. The union, headed by Prosper Ben-Hamu, promised "industrial peace" over the coming three years that the accord will be in effect.
The union had claimed their wages had eroded by 25% in recent years, which the Finance Ministry had denied. The end to the strike was reached by Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini, Treasury wage chief Ilan Levine and its budgets chief, Udi Nissan, as well as Ben-Hamu and Clalit director-general Eli Depes.
Depes said that the agreement "expresses our will to improve the salaries of administrative, maintenance and technical workers, who deserve it. There are steps in the agreement that will help us meet our commitment to stability and the quality of service to our customers."
Eini said that "again, it has been proven that real negotiations can solve every dispute and avoid the use of the strike weapon."
Deputy Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman also reportedly had a part in bringing an end to the strike.
However, the workers will have to work overtime to bring Clalit institutions back to normal, as they have been left filthy without cleaning, cooking, new supplies, clean laundry and other major services. The only health fund facilities not affected were hospital obstetrics departments, in-vitro fertilization, dialysis and intensive care units and other emergency facilities.
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