Labor court orders medical workers to end daylong strike

Michael Bachner is a news editor at The Times of Israel

Medical workers demonstrate outside the Histadrut building in Tel Aviv during a 24-hour strike called to protest the government's judicial overhaul, on July 25, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Medical workers demonstrate outside the Histadrut building in Tel Aviv during a 24-hour strike called to protest the government's judicial overhaul, on July 25, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A labor court issues a ruling ordering the country’s medical workers to immediately return to work and halt a one-day strike they’re staging in protest of the passage a day earlier of the government’s first judicial overhaul law.

However, the decision isn’t set to make a difference regarding outpatient health clinics since it’s issued shortly before most of them would have ended their workday anyway, and since most appointments had already been canceled.

Last night, the Israel Medical Association (IMA) announced the general strike in the healthcare system for today, in response to the Knesset’s passage of the “reasonableness” law.

The strike saw the healthcare system operate on a limited Sabbath and holiday schedule. However, emergency rooms of general and psychiatric hospitals operated as usual, as did community clinics in Jerusalem and its surroundings, “due to the large number of people in the area and the complex situation there.”

This morning, Health Minister Moshe Arbel and professionals in his ministry applied for an injunction to prevent “this last-minute wild strike that will unjustly hurt thousands of patients.”

Hours later, Arbel appealed to the IMA to agree to end the strike at 1 p.m., but it refused.

Then, shortly before 3 p.m., the Bat Yam Labor Court accepted Arbel’s request for an injunction, writing: “We believe a protest strike of two hours is sufficient to execute the right to protest, but not beyond that.

“In practice, the strike has been going on for over seven hours,” it added. “We are ordering an immediate return to work for all healthcare services that were on strike today to reduce the harm to patients as much as possible.”

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