Treasury and Teachers Union Come to a Wage Agreement
On Wednesday, the Israel Teachers Union and the Finance Ministry announced that they had come to an understanding on a new labor agreement.
This came after marathon overnight talks to prevent a strike at the beginning of the school year on September 1st.
The negotiations for ending the wage dispute had been ongoing for several months. Yaffa Ben David, the union chief, had repeatedly threatened a teachers strike.
This would have meant that kindergartens and schools would not open on Thursday, as per schedule, if a deal was not reached.
A joint statement disclosed that a salary of NIS 9,000 would be paid to new teachers per month under the agreement and would receive bonuses of NIS 1,100.
After completing three years of teaching, an employee will be granted NIS 10,000 for encouraging them to stay in the profession.
As for new principals, they will be given a starting salary of about NIS 19,000. They will also have the authority of offering teachers bonuses between NIS 400 and NIS 1,000 for initiative and excellence.
In addition, specialist teachers can also be hired by principals who do not work in the education system, such as those who have expertise in special needs education.
The issue of vacation days was one of the major gaps between the two sides. The Finance Ministry wanted to reduce the vacation days of teachers to the same as working parents.
This is because the latter often struggle to find child care for their kids when they are on vacation. The statement said that the two sides had reached a compromise.
They would give up Isru Chag as a vacation day, which is the day after Sukkot, Shavuot and Passover festivals, along with Fast of Ether and Lag B’Omer.
In return, teachers would be given time off between Sukkot and Yom Kippur, along with an additional two vacation days for their use.
Another point of agreement was streamlining the process of laying off the teachers. Plus, they would have to wait for three years before they can qualify for tenure.
The agreement has not been signed as yet, but will be effective until 2026. The cabinet also needs to give its approval for the deal.
Since the strike has been averted, the government withdrew the injunction it had filed for ordering the teachers to go back to work.
According to Ben David, this agreement was only the first step they had taken for fixing the education system in Israel.
Avigdor Liberman, the Finance Minister, also praised the agreement and said that schools would have a better quality and stronger education system.
He said that after negotiating for months, they had finally succeeded in making changes that haven’t previously been seen in Israel’s education system.
Yifat Shasha-Biton, the Education Minister of Israel, said that the agreement would provide stability in the country for years.
She said that a stable and strong education system that has quality teachers is excellent for the future of the kids.