Teachers Union announced Monday evening a nationwide strike on Tuesday, accusing the Finance Ministry of “taking advantage of the union’s good intentions.” A meeting on Monday morning among the union, the Education and Finance ministries ended without results, with the Finance Ministry offering only a small raise, according to the union. The union rejected the offer. Teachers have been striking on and off for weeks, as they fight for higher wages and better working conditions.
The union is demanding that new teachers earn a monthly salary of NIS 10,500 ($3,077), as well as a meaningful increase in experienced teachers’ salaries. The Finance Ministry had previously agreed to raise the wages to about NIS 8,200 ($2,403). According to a statement issued by the Teachers Union spokesperson, the Finance Ministry has refused to offer more than NIS 8,600 ($2,513) as a starting wage for new teachers and only agreed on a small monthly raise for experienced teachers.
Union chief Yaffa Ben-David said that the ministry had “made a concrete offer for increasing teachers’ salaries,” but noted that there were still “significant gaps” between the union and the ministry. “Unfortunately, the treasury has taken advantage of our good intentions to stop the strike and has held futile meetings,” Ben-David charged. “The offers they proposed are disrespectful to the teaching profession and will lead to the collapse of the education system.”
Ben-David added: “We have been negotiating with treasury officials for over six months and the only offer they have put on the table is simply ridiculous. The officials don’t care about anything. Not about education, not about the students, and not about their parents. We warn again that despite our many attempts and goodwill gestures such as freezing the strike, the treasury is insisting on not solving the crisis, and is leading Israel to chaos during the next school year as well. I call again on Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman to personally intervene in the negotiations.”