Clalit workers hold assemblies, disrupt services

Staffers at 14 hospitals across Israel to disrupt services in protest of unfulfilled wage commitments.

clalit hospital 88 248 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
clalit hospital 88 248
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
On Thursday morning, 12,000 staffers at 14 hospitals owned by Clalit Health Services - the country's largest health fund - held workers' assemblies and seriously disrupted services. The union represents administrative and maintenance staff, kitchen staff and auxiliary workers. The union threatened that its staffers may strike next week if "there are no changes in the Treasury's position about its commitment to and fulfillment of wage agreements with the workers." The union, headed by Prosper Ben-Hamu, has been demanding higher salaries, revised definitions of jobs and changes in the number of required job slots, as the professions have "changed tremendously" in the last decade. The affected hospitals were the Rabin Medical Center (both Beilinson and Hasharon Campuses), Emek Medical Center, Carmel Hospital, Meir Medical Center, Beit Loewenstein, Schneider Children's Medical Center, Beit Rivka, Soroka University Medical Center, Josephthal Hospital, Geha Mental Health Center, Talbiyeh Mental Health Center, Kaplan Medical Center and the Hartzfeld Geriatric Hospital. Clalit management commented that in April 2008, an agreement was signed with the union ensuring "industrial quiet." The Finance Ministry participated in negotiations, but no agreement was reached. The health fund's management said it regretted the sanctions and hoped the union would continue to negotiate and not harm patients.