Residents agree to return to talks with Finance Ministry

With their wings clipped by labor court decision preventing them from resigning en masse, young physicians realize they have to soften their demands.

Doctors demo311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Doctors demo311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Medical residents told the High Court of Justice on Wednesday that they agreed without preconditions to return to negotiations with the Finance Ministry. As the National Labor Court prevented them from resigning en masse from their hospital posts, the young physicians realized they have lost most of their bargaining power and have had to soften their demands.
Justice Hanan Melcer had urged doctors to return to the negotiating table during Tuesday’s preliminary hearing of a petition filed by residents against the labor court ruling ordering them to return to work. In Wednesday’s response to Melcer, the petitioners stipulated that the negotiations must take place on a daily basis and be fixed to an intensive schedule over two weeks.
High Court gives residents deadline for negotiations
High Court debates doctor's petition for resignations
The hospital doctors want the labor accord reached with the Israel Medical Association (IMA) at the end of August to be in effect for less time than the nine years agreed upon.
They also want better employment conditions, fewer and shorter night and weekend shifts and higher salaries. Resident employment terms will also be discussed.
The Treasury spokesman said on Wednesday that the ministry would respond only on Thursday morning, as required by the High Court, and not before, regarding its position on reopening talks.
Meanwhile, MK Amir Peretz (Labor) wrote to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – formally the health minister – calling on him to intervene in the labor dispute with the residents.
Peretz, a former secretary-general of the Histadrut labor federation, said he supports collective agreements and their legal status in principle and thus could not criticize the agreement reached with the IMA. However, he said that the doctors could not be forced to work in the long term under existing conditions against their will.
“Now that the High Court of Justice has given more time and space to solve the solution,” he told Netanyahu, “you should get into the thick of things, because any decision taken by the High Court will not be good for the democratic system or improve work relations in Israel.”