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man in hospital bed with nurse 311.(Photo by: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Nurses to launch 'warning strike' after talks fail
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
02/23/2012
Nurses will work on a reduced Shabbat schedule in protest of over shortage of caretakers, increase in patients.
The Israel Nurses Union will hold a one-day “warning strike” on Sunday to protest the overburdening of the health system in clinics and hospitals. Nurses will work according to a reduced Shabbat schedule.

The sanctions will include not only the hospitals and clinics but also the family health (Tipat Halav) centers, district health offices and schools.

Union head Ilana Cohen announced the work action after having a meeting at Histadrut labor federation headquarters in Tel Aviv with its chairman Ofer Eini, Treasury wage chief Ilan Levin and professional teams. Cohen said the session was fruitless.

She maintained her colleagues were “collapsing” due to the severe shortage of nurses and rising number of patients.

“The situation is a catastrophe. This is an impossible situation that harms the quality of care for all Israelis. I feel I have the obligation to sound the warning bell. If no solution is found, the situation will just get worse,” Cohen said.

The Finance Ministry spokesman said it did “not see any reason for the strike on Sunday.”

“The nurses are covered by a wage agreement and manpower arrangements that were signed by the Histadrut and in effect until the end of this year. They are obligated to observe industrial quiet,” he said in a statement.

In the last few months, “the Finance and Health Ministries have been involved in a process aimed at increasing the number of nurses and reducing the burden in the profession, but a strike now, especially during the winter, is not legitimate and causes unnecessary harm to patients,” the statement said.

A Jerusalem meeting to discuss the situation will be held Friday. It will be attended by Cohen, Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen, Treasury wage chief Ilan Levin and deputy budgets director Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov.
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