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Nurses End Their Hunger Strike, but Doctors to Walk off Jobs

The Israel Medical Association has called a 24-hour strike for Thursday of some 10,000 doctors at government and Histadrut hospitals.

The nurses union, however, has ended its dispute with the government.

Dr. Shmuel Friedman, chairman of the medical association’s professional committee, said the strike would be a “warning” to protest the failure of public health employers to sign wage contracts.

The strike call came only a day after doctors at government and municipal hospitals returned to normal work schedules Tuesday, after seven months of strikes and sanctions.

They will be walking off the job again Thursday, along with colleagues employed by Kupat Holim, Histadrut’s health care agency. Only the handful of private hospitals, mainly in the Jerusalem area, will not be affected.

Friedman stressed there was no connection between the new strike and the earlier dispute at the state-run hospitals. He said doctors in the public sector still have no wage contracts for 1987, let alone 1988.

The medical association is demanding contracts of several years’ duration that provide annual salary increases. It wants physicians’ salaries linked to average wages, as is the case with public officials.

The nurses union, meanwhile, called off its week-long hunger strike Wednesday, after accepting a government proposal to hire 24 percent more nurses at state hospitals over a five-year period.

The union had demanded 28 percent more nurses. The government originally offered 18 percent. The compromise was reached after several nurses, subsisting for days on a liquid diet, collapsed outside the Prime Minister’s Office.

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