Hadassah Workers Step Up Sanctions

Jerusalem hospitals to go on emergency footing after claims that state reneged on promises to employees.

Emil Salman

Employees of Hadassah Medical Center’s two hospitals in Jerusalem held a protest meeting during work hours yesterday, claiming that the Finance Ministry “recanted on agreements and worsened working conditions at the institution.” Labor sanctions are expected to worsen today, with the Mount Scopus and Ein Karem medical institutions switching to emergency footing.

Nursing, logistics and administrative employees said they will step up their sanctions starting at 11 A.M. today. As a result, there will be only two nurses in each department and a limited number of support staff.

The sanctions will include outpatient clinics, ambulatory services and outpatient hospitalization. Dialysis and maternity departments will not be affected.

The head of the nurses union, Ilana Cohen, noted that several weeks of discussions with management had produced results. “We agreed that the workers would give up some of their salary components for three years. The treasury can’t come and announce now that we’re forgoing these components ‘until the hospital recovers.’ And if it takes 20 years? We can’t wait for the messiah to come,” she said, noting that a 2% pay cut carried out in 2009 has not been returned.

In a response, the Finance Ministry said the state was using taxpayers’ money to help the hospitals to recover for the sake of the public good.