doctors' strike,rambam, Haifa - Hagai Frid - November 16 2011
Doctors on strike at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa last month. Photo by Hagai Frid
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Medical residents and the Finance Ministry signed an agreement early Thursday morning to end the labor dispute that has brought Israel's medical system to a crisis point over the past nine months.

Doctors approved the agreement, with 269 voting in favor of the agreement, and 163 against, Army Radio reported.

The deal was already agreed upon by residents in hospitals that were at the forefront of the struggle, including Sheba Medical Center, Rambam Medical Center and Meir Hospital, but doctors at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv decided on Tuesday not to vote immediately on a deal, despite pleas from the hospital’s director Gabi Barabash.

According to the agreement, every resident will get a grant of NIS 60,000 in two stages, and young resident doctors will get paid more for evening and night shifts. Residents who work on weekends will receive a weekly vacation day.

An agreement was also reached on Monday to reexamine the deal signed between the finance ministry and Israel’s Medical Association, to which the residents adamantly object. The deal will stay in effect until 2019, but will be reopened for examination in January 2015.

The residents' original petition to the High Court was to withdraw the order by the National Labor Court preventing them from resigning. It was combined with a second petition, calling for the abrogation of the collective wage agreement and the application of the law mandating maximum work hours in Israel to public-sector physicians, preventing them from having to work 26 hours straight.

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