IMA flexes its labor muscles

Israel Medical Association chairman Eidelman declares labor dispute connected to changes proposed by the Treasury.

LEONID EIDELMAN 370 (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)
(photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)
The Israel Medical Association, which signed a new contract with doctors’ public employers after a long strike in 2011, declared a labor dispute on Tuesday.
IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman said the dispute was connected to changes proposed by the Treasury as part of its economic arrangements bill accompanying this year’s budget proposals.
“We stand before a struggle of economic decrees expected in the economic arrangements bill that are liable to hurt doctors and endanger public health. We will not allow harm to the contract; public health is not a table in an Excel program,” he said.
Eidelman said the Treasury’s wage chief did not respond to queries raised by the IMA.
“We demand that unilateral moves not be taken by the employers. We expect the Treasury wage chief to preserve existing labor relations and collective agreements so he does not harm physicians’ work conditions.”
The Treasury has contemplated a number of changes, from taxing grants to doctors who agree to work in the periphery to limiting the tenure of government hospital directors.
The IMA fears that massive cuts expected in the state budget will violate Treasury agreements that were reached at the end of the 2011 strike.
However, the Union of Public Hospital Residents reacted to the IMA’s announcement by saying that they would not join a strike without the medical association consulting them before making any decisions.
“Even though the agreement with the doctors is a bad one and most doctors opposed it,” the union said, “our organization will not agree to any worsening in conditions and any harm to public health.”
The organization said that unfortunately “Dr.
Eidelman’s and the IMA management’s running of things during the strike reduced [the] power of the IMA and its legitimacy in the eyes of physicians. We will not join a strike this time without the IMA consulting and coordinating things with us.”