Schools to Open Late on Sunday with Deadlock between Union and Treasury
On Friday, the Teachers Union in Israel had announced that kindergartens and schools across the country would not open before 10 a.m. on Sunday. This was because of the ongoing dispute between the Finance Ministry and the Teachers Union. Yaffa Ben-David, the head of the union, said that if Avigdor Liberman, the Finance Minister, the alternative Prime Minister and existing Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and the Prime Minister Naftali Bennett don’t wake up, then there will be no education system. Instead, she said that they will have to deal with an army of frustrated and angry parents for not managing a simple crisis.
A Partial Strike on Sunday
According to the announcement of the union, the strike on Sunday is a partial one and it will include elementary schools, kindergartens and middle schools in Israel, but special educational institutions will not be included. This strike comes after a late school opening of kindergartens and schools in Tel Aviv on Thursday.
The union said in a statement that they had called for the strike in Sunday because of the disregard and disrespect shown for the education system in the country that needs a lifeline. The union further elaborated that they had also planned the strike because the Finance Ministry had come to yet another meeting without any preparation or a proposed budget for meeting the demands they had put forward.
A day earlier, the Teachers Union had mentioned that they would conduct a strike next week, but had not decided on the day it would be called. Therefore, it was unclear if the strike on Sunday was the one they had intended to hold, or it was just an addition to it.
The Finance Ministry Says Different
As far as the Finance Ministry is concerned, they have a different story to tell than the Teachers Union. Liberman said that they were in favor of increasing the salaries of the teachers, but the union was not willing to negotiate.
He said that they were just putting forward their demands and not listening to anything. The ministry had said in a statement earlier in the week that the union did not want the education system to advance and did not value young teachers either.
The Primary Conflict
The major reason that the conflict has occurred between the Teachers Union and the Finance Ministry is because of some of the reforms the latter wants to introduce. These reforms are aimed at reducing the power of the Teachers Union, which has not received a positive response.
Moreover, the new reforms also include determining salaries of teachers by assessing their competence, instead of just their experience. Likewise, Liberman has also suggested that teachers be given the same vacation days as that of other sectors.
Ben-David had warned in the previous month that the entire education system could collapse if the salaries of teachers were eroded gradually. The union head said that many teachers had already left and others were going to do the same soon.