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Government Hospital Strike is over After 17 Days

About 7,000 non-medical employees at government hospitals returned to their jobs Tuesday, finally ending a 17-day strike that had all but forced the hospitals to close.

The crippling walkout was broken over the weekend after Premier Yitzhak Shamir signed back-to-work orders under the emergency regulations Israel has retained from the British Mandate period. The orders were served in person to 2,300 striking maintenance and administrative employees.

The rest resumed work Tuesday on the basis of a “secret understanding,” proposed after hours of negotiations Monday night by Haim Haberfeld, head of the trade unions department of Histadrut, Israel’s labor federation.

Although the terms of the agreement were not disclosed, the hospital workers committee recommended acceptance to the eight-member strikers council. The issue was wages and fringe benefits equal to those won last year by employees of Kupat Holim, the Histadrut health care agency. It is not known whether this was achieved by the government hospital employees.

Meanwhile, 1,000 X-ray technicians still on strike were warned Tuesday by the Treasury that they faced emergency back-to-work orders if they did not end their walkout which was due to continue until Thursday.

In addition, anesthesiologists are still refusing to attend all but emergency surgery.

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