Schools to Reopen Friday after Two Days of Strike
The Teachers Union in Israel had gone on a strike for two days i.e. Wednesday and Thursday. The union announced on Thursday that teachers would return to schools on Friday, even though they had not managed to come to an agreement with government officials over reforms and wages.
According to the Israel Teachers Union, they had decided to pause sanctions at the request of Yifat Shasha-Biton, the Education Minister. It also said that there had been a meeting between Yaffa Ben David, the chief of the Teachers Union, and Kobi Bar-Nathan of the Finance Ministry. The latter works at the Treasury as a director of employment agreements and salaries.
A meeting between the two is also scheduled for Sunday. Ben David stated that they wanted to have honest and relevant negotiations. She also warned that if they do not come to an agreement in the labor talks, then the union would resume its strikes once more. She said that they would renew their fight if there is no understanding in the next few days.
Move Receives Approval
Avigdor Liberman, the Finance Minister, appreciated the move of the Teachers Union. He said that the students, parents as well as teachers deserved to end the school year successfully and without any sanctions, or strikes. The pause was also hailed by the Education Minister, who said that they would ensure that the negotiations happen quickly.
The announcement was made after the Teachers Union had been on a strike for a full two days. Therefore, all middle schools, elementary schools and kindergartens had been shut around the country. These full-day strikes came after two-hour regional strikes last week that had resulted in schools opening late in different parts of the country. Despite the strike, studies were held on Thursday in several municipalities.
Likewise, special education institutions were also operational during the strikes and they were not applicable to grades 7 and up because their school year is already over. Kindergartens, middle schools and elementary schools will end their academic year in the coming week.
The Reason for the Dispute
The dispute between the Finance Ministry and the Teachers Union is over working conditions and salaries. However, overstretched and harried parents are now criticizing the teachers because the strikes are making things difficult for them, as they need to look for childcare options.
The Finance Ministry’s planned reforms have also created a problem because they are aimed at reducing the power of the union. The reforms they have proposed have been widely criticized by the Teachers Union, as they do not deem them unfair, since they involve reducing the pay gap between novice and experienced teachers and eliminate intervention of the union in firing decisions.
While the Finance Ministry stated that it is ready to raise the wages of the teachers, but it also wants changes in the overall education system and the union is not willing to accept them. This has resulted in a dispute that has been ongoing for several weeks now.