The National Labor Court rejected an appeal from the Finance Ministry on Thursday to order striking nurses back to work, instead directing Treasury officials to continue wage negotiations with the Nurses Union.
Court President Nili Arad summoned Finance Ministry official Kobi Amsalem and Nurses Union Chairwoman Ilana Cohen to her chambers for a closed-door discussion of the strike. Arad ordered the sides to resume negotiations throughout the weekend and return to court on Sunday.
Cohen reportedly left the meeting smiling, saying that despite the lack of progress thus far, “I am ready to sit and negotiate further tonight.” However, she added, “it takes two to tango. And if a real solution for the nurses is not found, I won’t agree to anything.”
The Treasury, Amsalem said, “will make every effort to reach an agreement,” but that “both sides need to make the effort” to do so.
As it stands, the two sides remain far apart on a new wage agreement for public-sector nurses. The union is demanding a 15% wage increase implemented over three years, at a cost of some 700 million shekels, while the Treasury is offering a smaller wage increase implemented over four years, at a cost of some 450 million shekels.