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Cabinet Orders an End to Strike by Government Hospital Workers

February 12, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

An 11-day strike that crippled government hospitals was ended Wednesday night by the stroke of a pen.

Premier Yitzhak Shamir signed a back-to-work order under the emergency regulations that Israel retained from the British Mandate more than 40 years ago. He acted after the Cabinet, polled by telephone, voted 11-10 to support the move.

The ministers preferred to invoke the emergency regulations instead of seeking an injunction from a labor court. An injunction could be appealed by the strikers to the Supreme Court, prolonging the walkout.

By Thursday morning, individual back-to-work orders were being handed to about 2,300 hospital maintenance workers, service and administrative personnel. They constitute less than a third of the work force who walked off their jobs nearly two weeks ago. But the strike was clearly broken.

Many employees reported for duty Thursday morning, before a meeting called by the strike committee in the afternoon to decide how to react to the orders.

Meanwhile, some 2,700 physicians who had been curtailing their services at a different hospital each day, on a rotating basis, returned to normal work schedules Thursday. They ended their 10-day job action when the Finance Ministry promised to begin discussions Friday of their demands for second shifts with overtime pay.

Hospital administrators had planned to stop admitting patients and to close their emergency rooms by Thursday.

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