Teachers strike all day on Wednesday

The Israeli teachers’ union announced a day-long strike on Wednesday, closing kindergartens and elementary schools and creating headaches for parents as they struggle to find a childcare solution. In the extreme 1.5 million children are trapped in the house.

The one-day strike comes as schools planned to open their doors two hours late as part of a walkout aimed at putting pressure on the finance ministry, which is currently in talks with teachers ‘unions over the issue of teachers’ salaries and the working environment.

While many parents have said they support better pay for teachers, some feel they have been personally sanctioned, condemning the impact of the strike on their children and family organization.

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Schools with special needs students are open as usual on Wednesday. The social movement is not related to college or high school, which has been closed since Monday.

The head of the National Parents Association, Merom Schiff, criticized the teachers’ union for a strike that he said was organized and even the finance ministry said it wanted to continue negotiations despite the planned abolition of the Knesset.

Schiff Kahn told the public broadcaster that “there is almost no gap between the Treasury and Histadrut. [la Fédération du travail]. If the finance minister says he will hold intensive discussions even in the current political situation, then how can we support today’s strike with the talks starting from Sunday? A

A scene from an empty school in Tel Aviv after the June 19, 2022 teacher union strike. (Avshalom Sassoni / Flash 90)

Amid the coalition crisis, the government is expected to introduce the Knesset on Wednesday, with new general elections set to take place later this year.

Afternoon events – starting at 1.30 or 2 pm and ending at 4.30 pm – will be offered as usual.

Some local authorities have decided to expand these programs so that already enrolled children can be cared for throughout the day, or they have chosen to send educational assistants who will take care of the youngest people in the nursery. These assistants are not the responsibility of the union and they are appointed by the municipality, not the Ministry of Education.

But many parents have not found a solution to care for their children on this working day.

“I’m working and I don’t know what to do,” Avi Sarusi, head of the Lod City Parents Association and a member of the National Parents Association, told news site Inet. “We don’t have a grandmother to take care of them. In that case, we would have to adopt a temporary grandmother who would agree to stay with our children. “

Sarusi said he supported the teachers’ demands but added that “at the end of the day, we are the ones who are being punished”.

“There is a limit to what is acceptable,” he continued. “We have met with the finance minister, we are fighting for the rights of teachers, nurseries, assistants – and now the teachers who have protected them are attacking them very subtly.”

The students arrived in Modin, Central Israel, on January 30, 2022. (Flash 90)

An immigrant mother of two young children says she does not have a close family to take care of them.

“I have to stay with them, I have no choice,” Walla Talia Yakov, whose children 6 and 3, told the news site. “I feel like I’m out of breath.”

“I can’t believe we have to go through this again after two years of coronavirus, quarantine and lockdown,” continued Yakov, who moved to Israel after leaving the United States 11 years ago. United. “It’s nonsense and it’s a punishment for children.”

Rachel Ynet, a mother of five living in Benny Brack, told the website that the strike was ineffective and only turned parents against teachers.

“Teachers must move forward differently in their struggle because parents suddenly come to hate teachers and that is not the goal,” he lamented. “Things must be done through dialogue, not through a law, punishing children and their parents.”

The school year is supposed to end next week.

At the heart of the conflict is a planned reform by the finance ministry aimed at reducing the power of teachers’ unions, a reform that would significantly allow school principals to dismiss staff without union intervention and address pay gaps between them. New and experienced teachers with compensation not on the basis of experience but on the basis of skill.

In a letter sent to teachers across the country on Tuesday, Yafa Ben David, head of the teachers’ union, wrote, “We will continue to work until the finance ministry makes a specific proposal to the table.” “We will continue to fight for our rights and for all your salary increases.”

Yafa Ben-David, left, at a conference in Jerusalem, February 11, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton / Flash 90 / File); Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman during a press conference in Jerusalem on June 12, 2022. (Jonathan Sindel / Flash 90)

In response to the strike, the finance ministry said in a statement: A

The ministry said it would continue to focus on an agreement to improve teachers’ pay, which would provide relief to parents and the economy by coordinating holidays for students and their parents and promoting excellence.

Shortly after Tuesday’s announcement, Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with officials from the National Parents Association. He reiterated his support for organizing school holidays to match the holidays of parents who work in other fields, which would relieve them of the pressure.

“Without a holiday schedule and rewarding excellence, a deal is not possible,” Lieberman was quoted as saying by the Yennet news site.

The parents’ association said it supported higher salaries for teachers but criticized the union for “organizing a wild cat strike in the midst of negotiations”. He condemned the strike and called on the finance ministry to seek a court order.

A Channel 12 report, which did not cite its sources, said the two sides had reached an agreement but the finance ministry was delaying ratification, saying it wanted to establish a comprehensive agreement with the national federation.

Education Minister Ifat Shasha-Beaton told Army Radio that his ministry officials were ready to set a date for the signing of the agreement by the end of June. August, but the Treasury is pulling things “as usual”, explaining that it will “wait until the last moment.”

The union is demanding a substantial increase in the salaries of young teachers of 10,000 shekels as well as for experienced teachers.

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