High School Teachers’ Association in Israel Threatening Job Action
On Sunday, the Secondary School Teachers’ Association in Israel, representing high school teachers in the country, threatened job action.
It said that they had reached a ‘standstill’ in their negotiations with the Finance Ministry about employment conditions and a collective agreement of high school staff.
Ran Erez, the head of the association, wrote a letter to Yifat Shasha-Biton, the Education Minister, and stated that the measures were only intended as a ‘warning’ for now because they did not want to disrupt the school year fully.
The measures that have been planned by the association include high school teachers not participating in activities after school hours.
This refers to teachers of grades 10 to 12 and they will not participate in any organized trips, seminars, professional conferences, or any form of extracurricular activities.
The association said that they would set up a special committee that would evaluate any exceptions individually. These measures will go into effect from October 25th, Tuesday.
Erez said in his letter that the Education Ministry and the teachers’ association had recently signed an agreement, but despite that there were some negotiations that had hit a ‘standstill’.
The association’s head accused officials of the finance and education ministries of repeatedly ignoring the wage demands of the association.
Erez stated that a previous wage agreement applicable to high school teachers had come to an end this year in February and a new one had not been discussed.
This meant that the issue had not been addressed for months. The letter said that the teachers’ association had decided to start the new school year in August over the request as well as because of national responsibility.
They had not had a valid agreement and did not even start talks about wage demands that were made at the start of the year.
Erez asserted that there was no valid collective agreement in place for tens of thousands of high school teachers in Israel that would define their salaries.
He said that the teachers’ association had also raised some issues at the beginning of the school year several times, which did not need any expenses, but they had also been ignored.
He did not shed light on the issues in question.
The letter from Erez comes after a last-minute agreement had been made between the Education Ministry and the association on August 31st.
They had managed to avert a strike before the beginning of the school year on September 1st. This agreement was about reducing the school week to five days and introducing reforms in matriculation exams in high school for humanities.
At that time, Erez had stated that most of his demands had been met, but had said that the Finance Ministry tends to make things difficult, which seemed to be a foreshadowing.
On Thursday, the Israel Teachers Union, the Education Ministry and the Finance Ministry also signed a new labor agreement that they had first agreed upon in late August.
It represents the teaching staff of elementary schools, kindergartens and middle schools, but does not apply to high school teachers.