Hadassah management, staffers sign deal on wages

HMO nurses, administration expected to return to work after more than two weeks of demonstrations.

A room stands empty at Hadassah-University Medical Center. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A room stands empty at Hadassah-University Medical Center.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Hadassah Medical Organization management and employees signed a deal in the early hours of Wednesday to ease a labor dispute over unpaid January wages.
According to the Histadrut Labor Federation, nurses and administrative staff of HMO's two Jerusalem hospitals were expected to return to work on Wednesday after maintaining reduced emergency schedules to sanction the health organization's financial dealings.
Negotiations between HMO management, medical employees and the Histadrut Labor Federation culminated around 4 a.m. with the signing of a deal under which employees who earn up to NIS 15,000 were slated to receive full wage payments despite a temporary freeze of HMO debts.
Medical workers from Hadassah's Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus medical centers have been demonstrating for more than two weeks.
On Tuesday night, hundreds of HMO, who have waited 19 days to receive their full January salaries bedded down on mattresses in the atrium of the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.
Health Minister Yael German and Prof. Ronni Gamzu, her director-general, visited staffers in Ein Kerem on Tuesday calling on them to return to work immediately and restart negotiations, before the government uses is option of court issued back-to- work orders.
German said they wanted to speak to the workers’ committees and make them understand that the only “captain” at HMO is Avigdor Kaplan, its director-general.
“I found devoted workers who love Hadassah,” said German afterwards. “I asked them to join hands to restore Hadassah to regular activities and accept the recovery program, because the solution is not in the hands only of the government but also in the workers’ hands.”
She did not comment on how the HMO will be able to pay the February wages at the beginning of March. A concern that rises as the month is short and the hospitals have taken in very little income in recent weeks.
The Histadrut labor federation said that the 6,000 employees have turned into “hostages of HMO and forced to pay time and again the price of the failures of management.”
In 2013, thousands of shekels, owed to the workers, were taken as part of a previous recovery program, the labor federation said.
The threat now is dismissals, pay cuts, cancellation of higher job grades and cancellation of higher-paid duty hours.
Meretz MK Ilan Gilon said in the Knesset that “Hadassah is only an example of the public health crisis. We are at a deciding point for the future of Israeli health services.
Today there is the National Health Insurance law, but the basket of health services is empty. Even though healthcare is advanced, it is not accessible to many residents.”