Medical residents set to OK labor deal

Representatives are due to sign a mediated agreement that will bring an end to three months of upheaval.

Doctors residents x-ray 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Doctors residents x-ray 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Representatives of hundreds of hospital residents are due to sign a mediated agreement Wednesday that will bring an end to three months of upheaval by the young physicians.
The doctors were unhappy with the nine-year labor accord reached at the end of August between the Israel Medical Association and employers.
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What Treasury wage negotiators were unable to achieve in nine months of talking with doctors was apparently accomplished in two weeks by Yitzhak Zamir, a former Supreme Court justice, and Mordehai Mironi of the University of Haifa Law Faculty. This followed Labor Court and Supreme Court rulings that prevented young doctors from the center of the country and Haifa from resigning en masse in protest.
According to a statement by former Hadassah Medical Organization director-general Shlomo Mor-Yosef, the deal with not break the official agreement signed by the IMA, but will make additional payments and grants for residents, especially for extra work such as working exclusively in the public hospitals instead of moonlighting elsewhere. Mor-Yosef is a temporary adviser to the Health Ministry on the dispute and has sat in on negotiations during the last three sessions.
The deal will also reduce the number of monthly off-hour shifts to six and give them a guaranteed day off every week. Throughout the mediation, the lawyers kept in mind the fact that breaking the IMA accord would be a dangerous precedent that would encourage rebellions by small groups unhappy with labor agreements signed by representative organizations.
Although the accord was not signed Tuesday, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz welcomed an announcement that discussions between medical residents and the Finance Ministry had produced positive results and a final draft agreement had been drawn up.
“Our people came to an agreement that is good for the public health system,” Steinitz said during a ceremony in Ashdod. He said he hoped the medical system will start a new path that is good for patients and doctors.
Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, who was given details of the proposed agreement by Mor-Yosef only on Monday, and ministry director-general Ronni Gamzu said they stood behind it because it focused on improving the work conditions and pay of residents.
It will set down a mechanism that will examine the according after half of the nine years have passed to allow agreed-upon “repairs” and active cooperation by the residents and young specialists in the process.