Jerusalem afternoon daycare workers declare 2-day strike over salary demands

Gavriel Fiske is a reporter at The Times of Israel

Some 900 workers at Jerusalem’s city-funded afternoon daycare programs are on strike today and tomorrow, with an additional strike approved for April 30, the Union of Afterschool Workers say in a statement.

The strikers, including caretakers and aides, are protesting what they say is a refusal by the Jerusalem municipality to engage in negotiations around working conditions and compensation. Workers who run the afternoon programs have not had their salaries updated since 2018 and are paid on average 25 percent less than the morning kindergarten teachers and aides they replace, the union says.

The union also cites planned changes to the administration of the program, which the city will not guarantee won’t affect working conditions, as an issue they want solved.

In a statement, the Jerusalem municipality says the strike is “unjustified and completely unnecessary,” and adds that the city has offered “far-reaching proposals” to the union, which have been rejected.

The statement notes that salaries for afterschool aides are determined by the Education Ministry at the start of each school year, and that in most cases the aides are not directly employed by the city.

In Israel, kindergartens usually run until the early afternoon, and then an optional afternoon daycare program takes over the care of the children until the end of the working day.

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