Over 250 medical residents don't show for work

Court ordered talks with the Treasury fail to bring progress; residents keep move quiet to avoid injunction.

Doctors residents x-ray 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Doctors residents x-ray 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Following through on threats made in the early morning, medical residents across the country were absent from work Monday morning. The move came as another round of talks with the Finance Ministry failed to make progress over a labor dispute.
Two weeks ago, the National Labor Court prevented medical residents from resigning en masse from their hospital posts. The court ordered residents and the Finance Ministry to engage in intense negotiations in order to resolve the labor dispute.
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In total, over 250 residents stayed home on Monday, creating serious manpower shortages in emergency rooms throughout the country, Israel Radio reported.
Residents say that only three meetings were held in the past two weeks. They had sought intensive daily meetings with the Treasury.
Ahead of the current move, the residents kept their plans quiet until the last minute to avoid a court injunction, Army Radio reported.
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 High Court of Justice announced Sunday that a petition filed by residents against a National Labor Court ruling preventing their collective resignations will be heard before a panel of three High Court justices.
“The limited dialogue that took place did not produce results,” Justice Hanan Melcer announced late Sunday afternoon, as he said he would now advance the petition to a hearing before a panel. Melcer asked for that decision to be brought to the attention of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (formally health minister), Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman.
Justice Melcer’s decision came after lawyers for both the state and the residents informed the High Court on Sunday they had failed to move forward in the negotiations set out by the court October 27.
Last month, thousands of residents staged walkouts from their hospital jobs before being ordered back to work by the labor court. In addition, mass protests were held with over 1,000 medical residents and medical students.
Judy Siegel-Itzkovich and Joanna Paraszczuk contributed to this report.