Israel’s nurses’ strike entered its 15th day on Monday with no agreement in sight.
A meeting between nurses’ union and Finance Ministry representatives in the chambers of Labor Court president judge Nili Arad on Sunday evening was described as “unproductive” by participants.
Treasury officials were instructed to notify the court by 10 A.M. Monday whether they wanted to negotiate further or to appeal an earlier court ruling that denied an injunction to force nurses back to work.
The nurses are seeking higher wages and budgetary increases that would allow for hiring new recruits.
The supervisor of wages at the Finance Ministry Kobi Amsalem said Sunday that the ministry had offered a significant across the board wage increase, along with incentives meant to attract new nurses to the profession, according to Israel Radio.
National Association of Nurses chairwoman Ilana Cohen said the Treasury had revealed its real intentions, and that it was the ministry’s intent to force nurses back to work with an injunction instead of “finding a real solution to the acute crisis of the shortage of nurses.”
Throughout the strike, nurses have been working on a truncated “Shabbat schedule,” with barebones staff at hospitals and HMOs. Only essential services, procedures and surgeries have proceeded as scheduled.
Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman said earlier Sunday that he supported the nurses’ demands for better pay and conditions, but that they should have waited until after January’s elections to resort to strike action if needed.