Photo: Gil Yohanan
Archive photo
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Wednesday's planned school strike canceled last minute
Despite teachers insisting they're being cheated out of their right to sick days, nationwide school shutdown averted; Education Ministry and teachers' union return to negotiations.
A nationwide school strike planned for Wednesday's has been canceled after Justice Efrat Lakser at the Tel Aviv Labor Court successfully convinced the teachers' union to allow classes to proceed while simultaneously entering into intense negotiations with the Ministry of Education in order to reach an agreement.



The director of the Education Ministry will meet with the general secretary of the teachers' union on 4th January. The two sides will then meet again every ten days and update the Labor Court by January 24 on the outcome of their talks.


At a hearing Tuesday evening, Justice Lakser said: "(The decision to call a) strike for Wednesday was made with haste, to say the least."


 (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
(Photo: Motti Kimchi)


The State Attorney representing the Justice Ministry argued that the teachers union requested a solution only four days ago, leaving them insufficient time to review the matter.


"This is a problematic matter and we agree that the proper way to handle it is through meeting to solve the problem, if it is indeed true that for every sick day taken teachers it is recorded as 1.4 days, that is a serious problem," said Justice Lakser. "We do not take this lightly and hope that the state also doesn't," she added.


After the decision was made to cancel the strike, the teachers' union General Secretary Yaffa Ben David said: "The teachers' union has achieved its goal. The state wanted talks, but the court ordered negotiations, not (mere) talks. The state is dragging its feet with regards to the teachers and the court handed down an explicit directive to hold frequent sessions with the presence of senior Education Ministry officials, and that is what is important for us."


On Monday, Ben David called for a nationwide strike in all kindergartens, primary and middle schools that would have affected 1.6 million Israeli schoolchildren.


Special education schools and schools located in towns in the Gaza region were to be excluded from the strike.


The reason behind the strike was that according to the teachers' union, the Ministry of Education is violating teachers' rights to a fair salary by deducting 1.4 sick days for every one taken, meaning that a teacher who has taken three sick days is debited with 4.2 days.


Only after the Education Ministry began itemizing the deductions in the teachers' pay slips did the matter come to light.


"The teachers' union has determined that the Education Ministry is debiting the teachers the relative sum of weekly days off, regardless of actual absences," explained a source at the union. "We brought up the problem with the Education Ministry but they are dragging their feet and are not providing a clear response to this problem."


The Education Ministry claims that the teachers' union is violating an (earlier) agreement not to strike untill 2019.


A forum representing the parents congratulated the decision not to strike. "We support the teachers insistence for fair treatment, (especially) on the matter of sick days and we hope for a speedy solution," said Paz Cohen, chairman of the forum.


"Cooperation between the parents, teachers and students is of utmost importance, and the forum will continue to look after the interests of students and parents. We are proud of the legal council and the forum leadership for their support and clear representation of the parents' stance."






פרסום ראשון: 12.26.17, 23:15
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