Finance Ministry Trying to Avert State Hospital Workers' Strike

10,000 hospital workers are demanding pay raises; a strike would mean disruptions to food, cleaning and bathing services.

Representatives of administrative workers at state hospitals entered into negotiations with Finance Ministry representatives on Thursday in order to prevent a strike which could begin next week.

The hospital administrative workers announced that they will go on strike starting on Sunday at six in the morning. 10,000 state hospital workers will go on strike, including psychiatrists and gerontologists.

hospital - Eli Hershkovitz - March 20 2011
Eli Hershkovitz

If the strike takes effect, there will be disruptions in the services provided to clients, including laundry, food, logistics, cleaning, bathing, and others.

The administrative workers are demanding a pay raise of 5%, equal to that received by the administrative workers at the Clalit HMO, which should have taken effect in August 2010 but has not thus far, and another 3% raise to take effect in August 2011.

Negotiations between doctors and the Finance Ministry ended this morning with no progress being reported. The doctors also announced a labor dispute that would take effect this coming Sunday and which would allow them to halt work in the public health system for the first time in ten years.

Currently, the doctors do not intend to strike, but it is likely that they will engage in minor acts of protest, such as holding public meetings to explain their position and applying temporary sanctions.

The Finance Ministry announced that negotiations with the doctors are ongoing in order to reduce the gaps between the positions of the two sides.

The Social Workers' Union accepted on Monday the deal agreed upon by representatives of the Histadrut labor federation and the Finance Ministry after a strike that lasted 23 days.

For much of their strike, hundreds of social workers had been holding daily demonstrations and using Facebook to protest and rally support against the terms being negotiated by representatives of the union umbrella organization and the Finance Ministry.