Teachers and Treasury no Close to Signing Deal
On Sunday, marathon talks had been organized to avert the strike threatened by the Teachers Union in Israel at the beginning of the school year on September 1st.
However, despite Yair Lapid, the Prime Minister intervening in the meeting, they failed to come to a conclusion.
A meeting had been organized on midday Sunday at the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem between union officials and Treasury officials.
The labor dispute has been ongoing since the previous school year and now the new school year is scheduled to begin in less than 10 days.
Teachers are demanding higher wages, claiming that most of them are not compensated properly. But there was no progress between the two sides in the meeting.
As a matter of fact, they were forced to schedule yet another meeting to take place the next day. The negotiations have gotten stuck over a demand of the union to stick to the old system of determining pay.
They want the teachers to be compensated based on their experience and seniority, instead of a system that would shift the raises to teachers who are good at their work, or newer ones.
The Finance Ministry’s proposals
The proposal put forward by the Finance Ministry outlines a 35% raise in salary for new teachers, while only a 3% hike has been mentioned for veteran teachers.
Furthermore, the ministry also wants to change 5 to 10 vacation days of teachers into work days. Avigdor Liberman, the Finance Minister, said on Sunday that the union wants seniority, while they want excellence.
Both proposals have been rejected by the Teachers’ Union, which represents elementary, kindergarten and daycare teachers.
It has also issued a warning, as has the Education Ministry, that a huge number of teachers will quit the profession in five to six years because of the said wage plan.
Prime Minister’s intervention
On Sunday, the Israeli premier had spoken separately with the Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and Yaffa Ben David, the head of the Israel’s Teachers Union.
The goal was to come up with solutions to ensure the new school year can open as per schedule. Apart from that, Yair Lapid also had discussions throughout the day on this matter.
These discussions were with Meron Shiff, the chair of the National Parents Association, and Yifat Shasha-Biton, the Education Minister.
Liberman had initially opposed the involvement of the prime minister in the negotiations, claiming that it was a political move.
After all, elections are scheduled to take place on November 1st and parents who would not be able to send their kids to school would vent their frustrations on the ballot box.
He stated that he had clarified in his meeting with the education minister and prime minister that the one who conducts negotiations on salary agreements is the only person in charge of salaries.
The Finance Minister has accepted that new teachers need a salary hike, but also wants to increase their working days to assist parents who have difficulty in finding childcare.