Text size
related tags

Mediators in the dispute between medical residents and the Finance Ministry are nearing a solution to what seemed to be an almost insoluble crisis. And the residents seem to be emerging as the big winners, with almost all of their demands accepted - while also finding ways for the treasury to claim a victory.

Under the tentative deal, residents would see higher wages and improved conditions, but only in return for additional work hours in the public health system. Residents also would be promised a weekly day of rest, even when they work weekend shifts. And they would be paid more for shifts above the six-per-month limit, as well as extra pay for work on Fridays.

The treasury's demand not to shorten the nine-year agreement officially would be upheld, but with "creative" solutions. Halfway through the agreement, in 2015, a joint committee of doctors and treasury officials would examine the implementation of the agreement and, if necessary, initiate a further mediation process. If that proves unsuccessful, the two sides would then submit to binding arbitration.

The parties seem to be near signing, which could take place within days.

The dialogue between the sides has been taking place under the guidance of two court-appointed mediators: retired Supreme Court Justice Yitzhak Zamir and Prof. Moti Mironi, president of the Chamber of Israeli Mediators.

The mediators are asking for NIS 1,500 per hour, plus VAT, for their time. These fees are higher than the treasury's maximum rates for mediators - NIS 1,029 per hour for a former Supreme Court justice, and NIS 866 per hour for a professor with more than 15 years of experience.

The High Court of Justice has decided that the mediators' wages will be split between the treasury and the Israel Medical Association.