Jerusalem kindergarten teachers and assistants in over 150 facilities are set to strike Sunday in protest of a decision to terminate contracts and lay off some employees within the next couple of months.
Over the past week, a number of meetings have been held between the teachers’ representatives and the Jerusalem Municipality in order to negotiate a possible renewal of the contracts, but so far no agreement has been reached, Army Radio reported Saturday night.
Over 4,000 children between the ages of three and six will be affected.
The contract termination plan is being carried out as part of the Jerusalem Municipality’s implementation of the recommendations of the Trajtenberg Committee, which also proposed longer school days.
Although the plan includes a significant cut in parents’ monthly payment for kindergartens, NIS 267 ($75) per child instead of NIS 815 ($220), it also includes a deterioration in the working conditions of kindergarten employees.
Aside from contract terminations, wages for the remaining teachers will be cut by 20% and assistants’ wages by 47%, The Marker newspaper reported.
“These are inhuman conditions which are completely irresponsible,” Edna Joshua, a kindergarten teacher, told The Marker. “We will continue our struggle for the children’s sake. How can you expect the workers to continue in the kindergartens with an uncertainty about future employment?”
The Jerusalem Municipality responded to the pleas of the teachers and assistants by calling on them to avoid the strike and continue the dialogue with municipality officials.
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