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Non-clinical hospital staff suspend strike after 3 days

Health minister agrees to give preference to union’s demands in talks with Finance Ministry; strike led to build up of trash in medical centers, raising hygiene concerns

Illustrative: A man with a sign reading "strike here!" takes part in a strike of nurses at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem on July 20, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Illustrative: A man with a sign reading "strike here!" takes part in a strike of nurses at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem on July 20, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Hospital workers in administrative and non-clinical positions on Thursday agreed to suspend a three-day strike that saw trash pile up at some medical centers, raising hygienic concerns.

The decision to call off the strike came after a meeting between union representatives and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, who promised to raise the workers’ demands with the Finance Ministry and give them preference.

“All healthcare workers deserve respectable working conditions. Everyone is essential and important. I’ll make sure that this is reflected in the state budget,” Horowitz wrote on Twitter.

Under the agreement, the union said it would call off the strike for 45 days.

Among the union’s demands are halting the elimination of 200 posts created during the coronavirus pandemic, and the creation of additional positions to help cope with what it says is too much work at current staffing levels.

During the strike, which took place at over 20 medical centers, union workers ceased providing a range of key services, including administration, maintenance and cleaning.

A hospital source quoted by the Haaretz daily said that after a few days in which trash wasn’t taken out, there were increasing concerns that the lack of hygiene could soon pose a risk to patients.

Some relatives of patients resorted to cleaning hospital rooms themselves, according to the Ynet news site, which quoted a woman, whose son was hospitalized with a respiratory problem, saying that “the situation is seriously, seriously catastrophic.”

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