Hundreds of doctors walk-out of hospitals across country

At half of country's medical centers, staff protest potential agreement to end work dispute between IMA, Treasury; Litzman: IMA scared to reach deal.

doctors protest 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
doctors protest 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Hundreds of physicians and medical residents walked out of hospitals across the country Wednesday in protest of a potential agreement to end the labor dispute between the Israel Medical Association and the Finance Ministry.
Doctors and residents abandoned their respective departments at Barzilai, Ichilov, Assaf Harofeh, Belinson, Meir, Wolfson, Sheba, Rambam and Shalvata hospitals. The hospitals were operating with a reduced staff as a result of the walk-outs.
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Staff from Ichilov took to the streets and marched toward IMA headquarters on Jabotinksy street in Ramat Gan.
Residents claim that the agreement presented does not benefit them, the added manpower slots do not satisfy them and that the addition in wages are "ridiculous," Army Radio reported.
The Israel Medical Association is scared of signing an agreement with the Treasury to end the strike, Deputy Health Minister Yaacov Litzman told Army Radio.
"The parties have agreed on almost all the details [in the agreement], and there is a feeling that they want to start from square one, I don't know why," Litzman said. "I don't think the Treasury wants to start over. It has progressed and compromised [in negotiations]."
Negotiations which lasted nearly 20 hours between the IMA and the Treasury ended early Wednesday morning with no progress.

National Labor Court President Nili Arad, who has worked intensively as a go-between in the last few weeks, has threatened to issue restraining orders, requested by the state, against the doctors unless they reach an agreement. Arad will hold a discussion Wednesday afternoon to debate the request.
As the labor court is due to go on vacation on Wednesday, it appeared Arad was adamant about ending the dispute either with an agreement or court sanctions.