Residents: PM's offer doesn't address our problems at all

Number of resignations across the country reaches 470; "We have no desire to conduct negotiations over an offer that doesn't relate to us."

Doctors demo311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Doctors demo311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Medical residents on Tuesday rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Monday offer to end the labor dispute that has already seen some 470 residents resign, saying that it didn't address them or their problems.
The prime minister's offer, a representative of the residents said, "applies only to a small number of young specialists, that is, doctors who have finished their residency."
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"The prime minister's offer doesn't relate to residents at all and it is strange that until now, his office didn't understand who was standing on the other side of the crisis," the representative added.
Medical residents "have no desire to conduct negotiations over an offer that doesn't relate to residents and completely ignores the issue of shortening the [collective] agreement. Such an offer cannot bring any change to the health system," the statement said.
Earlier Tuesday Netanyahu called on medical residents to return to work, saying they need to display responsibility.
"Yesterday I offered the residents an addition of thousands of shekels to their monthly salaries in exchange for working in the the public sector once they become doctors," the prime minister said.
"That is a generous offer that significantly improves work conditions and contributes to citizens who are hospitalized in the public health system," Netanyahu added.
The number of residents who acted on previously presented letters of resignation surpassed 400 Tuesday, putting tremendous stress on the public health system.
Netanyahu – who is formally the health minister but has for many months left the medical system crisis to others – swung into action on Monday night as hundreds of medical residents made good on their promise to resign their posts.
While calling for residents to return to hospitals Tuesday afternoon, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said the government should rally resources to meet the doctors' demands, Army Radio reported.
The government "should do everything for the doctors, especially the residents, and find the necessary resources as soon as possible," he said. In a meeting with Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Yosef highlighted that lives were at stake in the matter.Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz also slammed demands being made by medical residents on Tuesday, saying that by going against the collective agreement reached last month and resigning, the residents are not respecting the law.
"I have a lot of appreciation for doctors and residents," he said, "but nobody is above the law and nobody is above the norms of legal agreements," speaking with Army radio.
"To come one month after the agreement and say that we as an internal group are not satisfied with the agreement, that's anarchy," Steinitz added.
The finance minister also outlined starting wages of medical residents. Before the recently-signed agreement, he said, residents' starting wages were NIS 17,000 per month before taxes. In the new agreement, residents in the center of the country start at over NIS 21,000 and those in the periphery start at nearly NIS 26,000 before taxes.
The National Labor Court did not issue an injunction Monday overnight against the mass resignation of hundreds of medical residents throughout the country as the nearly nine-hour hearing ended with residents' representatives refusing to return to the negotiating table with the Finance Ministry.
The court is expected to reach a decision on Tuesday whether it will order residents to remain in the country's hospitals.
Joanna Paraszczuk and Nadav Shemer contributed to this report.