|Nurses' strike: Hadash proposal for an egalitarian health system|
|Sunday, 16 December 2012 14:11|
The National Labor Court rejected an appeal from the Finance Ministry on Thursday to order striking nurses back to work, instead directing Treasury officials to continue wage negotiations with the Nurses Union.
Court President Nili Arad summoned Finance Ministry official Kobi Amsalem and Nurses Union Chairwoman Ilana Cohen to her chambers for a closed-door discussion of the strike. Arad ordered the sides to resume negotiations throughout the weekend and return to court on Sunday. Cohen reportedly left the meeting smiling, saying that despite the lack of progress thus far, "I am ready to sit and negotiate further tonight." However, she added, "it takes two to tango. And if a real solution for the nurses is not found, I won’t agree to anything."
Nurses demonstration during the strike on Beilinson hospital in the city of Petah Tikva on December 6, 2012 protesting the poor state of manpower in the health system and demanding fulfillment of agreements singed with the government (Photo: Activestills)
As it stands, the two sides remain far apart on a new wage agreement for public-sector nurses. The union is demanding a 15% wage increase implemented over three years, at a cost of some 700 million shekels, while the Treasury is offering a smaller wage increase implemented over four years, at a cost of some 450 million shekels.
Hadash MK Dov Khenin accused on Saturday the neo-liberal government of instituting "a murderous [financial] diet in the health system" that has created a severe shortage of nurses, doctors and hospital beds. He announced a proposal for reforming the system and making it more egalitarian. It includes the cancellation of privatization of the school health services and psychiatric care and restoring them to government responsibility. It also calls for a reinstatement of the "parallel tax" in which employees contribute money to the healthcare of its workers that was cancelled when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in his first term as premier.
The nurses held demonstrations outside various hospitals around the country. Today, Sunday, maintenance workers, technicians and administrative personnel at 14 hospitals held sympathy protests outside their hospitals at 10 a.m. to identify with the nurses. They returned to work after the demonstrations. Students in nurses' schools held also today a strike in solidarity with the strike.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 16 December 2012 14:22|