Residents appeal to High Court after talks fail

As talks with Treasury falter, residents file petition challenging National Labor Court ruling that prevents mass resignation.

National Labor Court discussion of medical residents resigna (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
National Labor Court discussion of medical residents resigna
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A petition filed by medical residents against a National Labor Court ruling preventing their collective resignations will be heard before a panel of three High Court justices, after negotiations with the Finance Ministry proved fruitless.
“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.
The six residents named on the petition asked the High Court to intervene after the National Labor Court forbade them from resigning collectively.
The petitioners argue their resignation letters are not part of any collective dispute, as the Labor Court had ruled, but were personal decisions to leave their posts.
The National Labor Court’s ruling, they said in the petition, amounts to “modern day slavery” and violates the Basic Law on Freedom of Employment.
They also contended their working conditions contravened the law, the Labor Court had injured their basic rights and the ruling had been fundamentally flawed.
However, during a preliminary hearing on the petition last month Melcer had recommended residents return to ‘focused’ negotiations with the Finance Ministry in order to avoid a legal ruling on the petition, which the justice warned would be “sharp.” On Sunday, residents and state representatives told the High Court they had had only three meetings of three hours each, and those had not produced results.