The Ministry of Finance today told the doctors almost unequivocally that they would not be part of any planned public sector pay freeze. The word comes two weeks after "Globes" reported that the ministry was considering a public sector pay freeze even for groups covered by the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) and collective contracts, such as doctors and university faculty.
Earlier this week, Director of Wages Kobi Amsalem sent a letter to Israel Medical Association chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman, stating, "As you know, the new government has not yet been formed, and no economic plan has been drawn up in any case, let alone been approved by the government. I wish to make it clear that if such economic plans are drawn up, they will be implemented in accordance with general principles. In any event, the collective contract signed with the Israel Medical Association in 2011 will stay valid, and there are no plans to cancel or freeze it."
There is an internal argument at the Ministry of Finance, with some senior officials arguing that a public sector salary freeze of cut should apply to all public sector workers. Other officials argue that the agreement with the doctors should not be touched. That agreement was reached after a long strike, mass resignations, three court cases and two arbitrations. If the doctors are exempted from the austerity measures, other groups will demand the same exemption: teachers, nurses, and even Israel Railways workers who signed a major reform agreement.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 21, 2013
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