Hospitals return to normal after court ‘tie-up’ order

Negotiations with medical residents will continue, government says; Health Ministry: Residents are "loyal and vital partners."

Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv 311 (R) (photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv 311 (R)
(photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
With the option of mass resignation closed by “tie-up” orders issued by the National Labor Court on Tuesday, most of the hospital residents from the center of the country returned to their jobs before Succot began.
The Health Ministry said it was sure all of them would contact their department heads and go back to work as instructed by court president Nili Arad.
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The labor court ruled that the mass resignations of over 500 residents, as well as the resignation letters by 200 more who did not actually quit, were illegal and would have endangered the public. Arad said that as the doctors are “normative and law abiding,” she was sure that they would observe her ruling and return to work.
The residents, in hospitals of in the center of the country only, have been objecting to the nine-year labor contract signed by the Israel Medical Association together with the employers in late August. The young doctors have been demanding higher wages, a shortening of the labor contract and other conditions, including that young specialists cannot be required to work night and weekend shifts. Despite the tie-up orders, negotiations on a better deal for the residents will continue, the government said.
The Health Ministry said that the residents are “loyal and vital partners” in public medicine and the future generation necessary for its continued existence. The hospitals can’t function without them, it continued.
“They are the medical residents of today and the doctors we want to take care of us in the future – they and not others,” the ministry said, referring to emergency plans to “import” physicians from other countries. The ministry said it hopes quiet and calm times will quickly return to the hospitals.
Treasury wage chief Ilan Levin said that all of the possible solutions presented to the residents so far remain as offers and called on them to continue to negotiate with the government together with the IMA. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz authorized continued negotiations “within the framework of the signed labor agreement.”