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Hadassah Staff to Stage Sunday Walk-Out

Hadassah Medical Center strikes worsen as medical staff stages mass walk-out in response to salary cuts.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 2/16/2014, 8:06 AM

Hadassah hospital, closed during strike
Hadassah hospital, closed during strike
Flash90

The Hadassah hospital crisis continues to face further complications, Walla! reports Sunday.

The Hadassah Medical Center administration is waiting for a 100 million shekel (about $25.8 million dollars) bailout from the ongoing debt crisis from the Finance Ministry and the Hadassah Zionist Women's Organization, according to a source close to the case.

After failed talks with the Israel Medical Association, the administration decided over the weekend to pay workers - who are already reeling over budget cuts and minimal salaries - only half their salaries this month as a result, and only plans to pay them about 90% of their salaries in total. 

In response, medical staff still working at the medical center on Shabbat and holiday hours have planned a mass walk-out for several hours Sunday. The IMA called for the crisis to be immediately resolved and the strikes stopped Saturday night, calling for workers with full wages due them to be paid immediately ahead of the planned walkout. 

"This is the most important issue currently on the social agenda in Israel today," Avi Nissenkorn, Chairman of the IMA's professional wing, stated Sunday. He urged the government to solve the crisis immediately, through "direct intervention and conducting intensive negotiations." 

One employee complained to Walla!, "The management has asked employees to work voluntarily. They want to garner donations from us, the people who earn minimum wages or close to minimum, over 100 million shekel."

"After we received only half of our salary for this month, they intend to pay only up to 90% of our wages in the coming months - depending on individual income, meaning that there are employees who would receive less," the source continued. "Half of what is owed to us will be given as an 'advance next payday."

"This is unacceptable to us. They have transferred our debt to us, the employees, without any negotiations [with us]," the worker lamented. "There are workers here who are in danger of being let go; what guarantee do they have that they will receive their wages owed to them after the fact?" 

Sunday's walk-out will see all staff leave their departments in the afternoon, except for operating room staff and intensive care staff.

This will be the last drastic action taken by the workers of Hadassah, according to the daily, to prevent risking patients' lives over a financial dispute.

The ongoing strike at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem has already driven several senior members of both Hadassah Ein Kerem and Hadassah Mount Scopus to quit, fed up over the hospital's inability to compensate for missing wages and frustrated over the tedious negotiations. 

The strike began last Tuesday at both Hadassah Ein-Kerem and Hadassah Mount Scopus medical centers, as a backlash against the Finance Ministry for allegedly stalling in negotiations to expand the hospital's budget.

The budget cuts have been hurting patients, according to staff who are reeling after a month on half-pay. As a result, the centers decided to close their doors Tuesday, operating on the schedule normally reserved for Shabbat and holidays.