In the wake of the Labor Court decision that the medical residents' collective resignation is illegal, the strikers have gone back to work. However, they are disappointed and promise to petition the High Court of Justice. They claim their work resembles slavery, and that they work consecutive shifts yet do not earn enough. The residents also claim the agreement that has been signed barely improves their pay. This is an imprecise claim, which wrongly dismisses the Israel Medical Association's achievements in the negotiations.
The residents have received a real pay raise: an increase of 47 percent on average, to be paid over a period of nine years, not including additional pay for seniority and promotions. The bulk of the sum - 70 percent of it - will be paid in the first three years.
Indeed, the agreement does not give identical raises to all doctors. It gives the bulk, and rightly so, to doctors in outlying areas and to doctors who choose specializations in which there is a shortage. However, it also gives raises (though lower than the average ) to doctors in the center of the country who do not engage in those specializations. Thus, in effect, the original intention of IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman has been fulfilled.
Eidelman set the line in the negotiations, whereby the ills of the system had to be dealt with first: the shortage of doctors in outlying areas and in certain specializations that are suffering from a real deficit. The agreement that was achieved, therefore, is a just agreement both economically and socially. This is also why the residents and the specialists in outlying areas are pleased with it and have not threatened, like their colleagues in the center of the country, to resign.
The agreement also establishes that specialists who have seniority of up to 10 years will do shifts, which will improve the care at hospitals during the evening and nighttime hours, and will also increase their pay considerably. Moreover, the agreement adds 1,000 new job slots to the system, with the aim of reducing the burden on all doctors.
The sweeping understanding with which the public accepted the strike has proved that it respects doctors and values their work. The same public also now understands that the doctors have received a far larger raise than any other group of workers in the public sector.
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