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Nurses End Their Strike

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The strike of hospital nurses ended Thursday morning after 18 days of a work stoppage which caused great harm and distress to the public — especially those in need of hospital care.

Representatives of the 11,000 hospital nursing staff angrily rejected suggestions that they had failed in their efforts and had to end their walk-out without obtaining any of their demands, except one they were offered on the second day of their action–recognition of their right to a separate hospital nurses union independent of the General Nurses Union.

The nurses on Wednesday night had agreed to return to work Thursday morning after negotiations started with the Histadrut and representatives of the Health and Finance Ministries, on hospital conditions and ways to attract new nurses to the profession.

But the government and employers said they would only begin negotiations on improving hospital conditions, including the addition of more nurses, but not on the matter of increased wages, after work had begun and the hospital wards were fully staffed.

Nurses spokespersons said they had won their fight for separate recognition and had drawn attention to the plight of the hospitals. They said they would give employers and the government six weeks to conclude the negotiations. If no progress is reached at that time, they said they would consider their next steps, the nurses spokespersons said.

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