Break Expected in Doctors’ Strike

Six thousand salaried physicians may end their month-long strike tomorrow if the Medical Association approves terms reached in two days of intensive negotiations which ended this morning. No details of the agreement were announced. It was learned, however, that the overall wage increase offered the publicly-employed doctors will not exceed the 46.5 percent ceiling set by the government.

The settlement, if one is reached, is expected to have effects on other groups of hospital workers and budgetary repercussions for the hospital management. Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir indicated the seriousness with which he regarded the prolonged walk-out when he plunged into negotiations with the doctors almost immediately after his return from a two-week visit to the United States Sunday night.

Until today, the negotiations in which Health Minister Victor Shemtov participated along with representatives of hospital and sick fund employers, seemed to be making no progress. The doctors stood firm on their wage demands and the government made it clear that it would go no higher than 46.5 percent. The doctors demanded a 50 percent play hike for night duty and a 25 percent hike for stand-by duty at night.

Yesterday, Sapir ordered income tax inspectors to investigate clinics maintained by the strikers to make sure that taxes are deducted from patient fees as required by law before the money is deposited in the strike fund. Patients who normally are treaded Tree of charge, will be refunded only in part by the government for the fees paid during the strike.

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