מעבדה בדיקה בדיקות קורונה קופת חולים לאומית אור יהודה
A coronavirus testing facility in central Israel
Photo: AFP
A coronavirus testing facility in central Israel

Virus lab workers end strike after reaching deal with government

Agreement reported to include pay rise for lab technicians in bid to compete with working condition of private-sector counterparts; final details to be fleshed out in coming days

i24NEWS |
Published: 09.06.20 , 21:36
Technicians at public laboratories handling COVID-19 tests ended their strike on Sunday after reaching a preliminary accord with the Health and Finance Ministries.
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  • According to a statement by the biochemists and lab workers union, representatives reached an agreement in a meeting with Histadrut labor federation chairman Arnon Bar-David and representatives of the two ministries.
    מעבדה בדיקה בדיקות קורונה קופת חולים לאומית אור יהודהמעבדה בדיקה בדיקות קורונה קופת חולים לאומית אור יהודה
    A coronavirus testing facility in central Israel
    (Photo: AFP)
    The final details of the agreement will be fleshed out in the coming days, the statement said but noted it will include pay rise for lab technicians.
    Thousands of medical laboratory staff across Israel went on strike late August, demanding improvement in their terms of employment as the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmingly increased the workload.
    After negotiations with the Finance Ministry had collapsed, some 2,000 hospital, healthcare service, and public health workers announced an indefinite walkout.
    Lab technicians claimed they are paid a fraction of what workers doing the same job at private clinics get, creating an unfair disparity that also makes it hard to attract or retain workers which creates a significant workload.
    The union noted that the low pay hindered the sector's recruitment efforts as all potential candidates much prefer heading into the private sector.
    מעבדה בדיקה בדיקות קורונה קופת חולים לאומית אור יהודהמעבדה בדיקה בדיקות קורונה קופת חולים לאומית אור יהודה
    (Photo: AFP)
    According to reports, the union's demands included hiking up lab technician's minimum wage to NIS 50 ($15) an hour.
    Public lab workers are set to step up testing efforts now that a deal had been struck between the parties.
    Coronavirus testing continued during the labor action, but only those who tested positive were given their results to enable the continuation of epidemiological surveys and to public hospitals that only covered intensive care units, emergency rooms and maternity wards.
    Tests were not processed for patients awaiting release from hospitals, or for those awaiting non-essential surgery.
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