Schools to Stay Closed on Wednesday due to Teachers’ Strike
The Israel Teachers Union has been involved in a dispute with the Finance Ministry for quite a while and it is primarily because of the working conditions and salaries of the teachers in the country. As part of this dispute, a day-long strike was declared by the Teachers Union, which means that elementary schools and kindergartens across the country will not open on Wednesday.
Yaffa Ben David, the chairman of the Teachers Union, said that they had no intentions of stopping the sanctions until they get a concrete offer from the Finance Ministry. The statement was made by the chairman in a letter on Tuesday that was sent to the teachers. She said that the union would continue fighting for the rights of the teachers and to get them better salaries.
The Wednesday strike does not apply to special education institutions in Israel. In addition, students who are enrolled in grades 6 or up will also remain unaffected because their school year came to an end on Monday. This is not the first strike that the Teachers Union has held in the last few days.
Recently, the union had taken to holding strikes of two hours at the beginning of the school day. The same happened on Tuesday, which meant that school classes had begun later than their usual time. However, it should be noted that the sanctions were only applicable in certain regions of Israel and not all over it.
The major reason that the dispute occurred between the Finance Ministry and the Teachers Union is the set of reforms that the former wants to introduce. These reforms would cut down the authority of the latter and this does not sit well with them. If the reforms are put into effect, the union will not be able to intervene if principals fire their staff. Plus, the pay disparity between new teachers and veterans will also be reduced.
The demand of the Teachers Union is that a salary of NIS 10,000, which is around $2,981, be paid to new teachers. As far as experienced teachers are concerned, they should also see a substantial increase in their salaries. The Treasury Chief had proposed that talks between the Finance Ministry and the Teachers Union be held on Sunday again.
However, Ben David called for a meeting on Wednesday with Avigdor Liberman, the Finance Minister. Shortly before the strike was called on Wednesday, Libermanhad a meeting with the heads of the National Parents’ Council. The Finance Minister reiterated that school vacation days would be adjusted to make them similar to people working in other fields.
This is another reform that aims to reduce the burden on working parents. Liberman stated that they would not be able to make any agreement if they are not able to move forward with compensating for competence and adjusting vacation schedules.
The council was in support of increasing teachers’ salaries, but criticized the unions for holding strikes at a time when talks could progress. They asked the Finance Ministry for obtaining a court injunction.