Subcontracted teachers out on strike

Subcontracted teachers out on strike

400 walk out in protest of their exclusion from recent labor deal

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Subcontracted teachers striking over work conditions are demanding the Education Ministry champion their cause. (photo by Orel Cohen/Flash90)
Subcontracted teachers striking over work conditions are demanding the Education Ministry champion their cause. (photo by Orel Cohen/Flash90)

Remedial teachers went on strike Wednesday in protest of their exclusion from a recent agreement between the labor federation and the government that won improved conditions for outsourced workers.

The strike will affect 40 institutes in the center of the country and, as a result, 1,000 children will be forced to stay at home. The teachers are part of the Completion of Basic Education Studies program, which serves pupils who have dropped out of the regular school system.

The striking teachers are subcontracted via community centers, but they are demanding that they be directly employed by the Education Ministry and receive benefits and job security in accordance with their positions.

In total there are more than 5,000 pupils in the CBES program at over 150 institutes around the country. This is the sixth time outsourced teachers have gone on strike in the past four months.

Earlier this week, a general strike by the Histadrut labor union was concluded after the government agreed to match the employment terms and wages of subcontracted cleaning and security workers to those of of direct employees in similar positions.

The teachers are demanding that Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar take up their cause and become involved in the labor dispute on their behalf.

“The Education Ministry is acting as though the CBES project is on another planet and not part of the flesh and blood of the education system,” said Einat Avrahami, one of the strike leaders. Avrahami added that the fact that the CBES project is privatized didn’t mean the Education Ministry could shirk its responsibility to teachers and pupils.

The tender for the CBES program, known by its Hebrew acronym “Hila,” is due for renewal in April.

The Israel Association of Community Centers operates the CBES program on behalf of the Education Ministry and services are provided via local community centers.

Maariv reported that in a Knesset committee meeting last week, an IACC representative declared that the organization’s hands were tied concerning the conditions of the outsourced teachers. The terms of the tender were laid out by the Education Ministry, the representative said.

Haaretz reported an Education Ministry source as saying that there was not enough funding to hire the teachers directly and that the Finance Ministry did not have any regulations to enable it. However, the Education Ministry said it would look into changing the terms of the tender.

The IACC is a government company owned by the Education Ministry and established in 1969. The IACC operates 180 community centers around the country.

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