Deadlock in Nurses Strike over Wages

Striking hospital nurses and the government remained deadlocked Tuesday on the issue of negotiations for higher wages. The government refuses to consider the subject, insisting that any talks aimed at ending the strike must be conducted within existing national wage guidelines.

Leaders of the 11,000 striking nurses, now in the second week of their walkout, are demanding negotiations without preconditions. As the impasse continued, conditions worsened in hospitals all over the country where only the most critically ill and emergency cases are receiving nursing care.

The government accused the strikers Tuesday of overstating their need for more pay. Finance Minister Moshe Nissim made public the pay slips of selected nurses to prove, in Nissim’s words, that “nurses earn not much less than ministers.”

The Ministry singled out one strike leader, Bella Suffrin, who it said earned 1,000 Shekels after taxes in May, which in Israel is a good wage. Suffrin assailed the Ministry for “fighting dirty.” She said she was campaigning for the profession, not for herself.

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