Judge Steve Adler
Photo: Ata Awisat

University lecturers' strike to continue

National Labor Court decides not to issue injunctions against striking lecturers. Strike to enter its 85th day Monday; court to convene again next Monday. University heads threaten to cancel entire academic year

The National Labor Court decided Sunday night not to issue injunctions against senior university lecturers, who have been striking for 85 days now. The court will convene again next Monday to re-discuss the issue.


Earlier Sunday, Cabinet Secretary Oved Yehezkel summoned the Council of University Presidents to an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Sunday, as the latter decided to try and help bring the academic crisis to its end.


Professor Moshe Kaveh, head of the Council of University Presidents, warned Sunday that there was no way to salvage the current academic year, unless the Labor Court grants the injunctions' petition.


"There is no way to salvage this semester and the current academic year is at risk as well," said Kaveh, adding that "if we do not resume the school year by tomorrow we'll cancel it altogether.


"The strike has reached its critical mass," he added. "We announced the semester's cancellation on January 13th... the academic year has suffered irrevocable damage."


Judge Steve Adler, who presided over the hearing, suggested the lecturers change their strike from a comprehensive one to a research strike, and resume teaching.


The damage done to academic research from the withholding of funds, answered the lecturers, was greater than that caused to the students or universities.


Attorney Orna Lin, representing the striking lecturers, told the court the strike was "within reason" and asked it mediate between the parties instead of issuing injunctions.


Kaveh acknowledged that the injunctions may impair the relations between the university president and the lecturers in the near future, but added that it was the only way to salvage the academic year.


"We offered them solutions even the Finance Ministry wouldn't agree to, but they still refused us, so I really can't see any other way," he said.


Olmert called on the lecturers to accept the court offered compromise in order to avoid having to be forced back to work.


Roni Sofer contributed to this report 


פרסום ראשון: 01.14.08, 01:14
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