The Coordinating Council of the Faculty Associations and the Treasury have come to an agreement ending the 89-day strike which has threatened the academic school year.
After marathonic overnight negotiations, the parties have agreed to sign an agreement outlined by Ofer Eini, Chairman of the Histadrut Labor Federation and detailing the various wage increases and lecturers' pension rights.
Eini's proposal accepted by all those involved in the negotiations: The Council of University Presidents, the Coordinating Council of the Faculty Associations and the Education and Finance Ministries; the lecturers' will be back in their classrooms this Sunday.
"I'm very happy both the lecturers and the Treasury were responsible enough to accept my offer," said Eini. "I'd hate to think what might have happened if the semester had been cancelled. That would have caused irreparable damage to the lecturers', the students, academia and the economy as a whole."
According to the agreement, the lecturers will receive a 16.8% wage increase as compensation for their wage erosion. The wage increase will be given in three remittances over the next two years.
The remittances will also include an additional 4.7%, in accordance with the public sector's wages. And additional 1.5% wage drift mechanism, meant to tackle future wage erosion, was put in place as well, until 2015.
Students protesting the academic crisis (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Chairman of the National Students’ Union, Itai Shonshane, said Friday that he was pleased with the fact that an agreement was reached with university lecturers that did not make a pay hike contingent upon implementation of the Shochat Committee for reform in higher education.
Shoshane said that he regretted that the strike dragged on for so long, and noted that “it is a shame that the prime minister and education minister interfere only after a long, prolonged battle.”
Crisis not over
Education Minister Yuli Tamir welcomed the deal ending the strike: “It’s finally over. It was long, and tiring, but it is a fine achievement and a nice pay raise for the lecturers,” said Tamir.
Tamir noted that the recommendations of the Shochat Committee for reform in higher education were not included in this final agreement. “We though it wise for the system to settle down for now,” she said.
But the academic crisis, it seems, is not completely over: The Junior Faculty Association announced a national labor dispute Friday.
The JFA claims it wants to attain an wage increase for junior lecturers and "guest lecturers" in various universities, similar to that commanded by senior faculty in the agreement ending the lecturers’ strike.
Junior faculty members further demanded they be exempt from making up the days lost in the strike, seeing as they held classes as usual.
The junior faculty has upheld a labor dispute in Tel-Aviv and Haifa Universities since Friday morning.
Tani Goldstein contributed to this report