Doctors staging one-day general strike despite talks

Work sanctions affect hospitals and Clalit clinics across the country; negotiations between Treasury and IMA set to resume.

IMA protest 311 (photo credit: JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH)
IMA protest 311
Doctors were holding a general strike in public hospitals and Clalit clinics across the country on Sunday. The Israel Medical Association decided to hold the one-day strike, during which hospitals will operate on a Saturday schedule, despite negotiations with the Finance Ministry, set to resume on Sunday.
The two sides were given until Monday afternoon to reach an agreement by the High Court of Justice.
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On Thursday, Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman said that he didn’t know why the doctors were still striking a week after a “breakthrough” ended IMA chief Dr. Leonid Eidelman’s 12-day hunger strike.
“I don’t understand... at first, they wanted more job slots for doctors, and they got it. They wanted to reduce the number of night and weekend shifts, and they got it. I have a feeling that something got derailed along the way,” he said.
“The labor court decided that the IMA represents them, but they don’t abide by its decisions. One can’t hold negotiations simultaneously with several organizations. I am sorry that hospitals in the center of the country are helping to continue the strike,” said the United Torah Judaism MK.
“This is very wrong and improper. It is unthinkable that hospital directors will back a strike that hurts patients so badly. Now there are even medical residents who want to be included in private medical services [Sharap, which is legal only among very senior doctors in Jerusalem hospitals]. Nu, really!” Litzman continued.
The main points of conflict remaining before the dispute can be resolved include wages for senior and junior physicians, the use of a time clock and other issues.