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Teachers strike for 2 hours Tuesday morning, third day in a row

Kindergarten and elementary schools across the country open late at 10 a.m. as salary dispute continues

View of an empty school at in Tel Aviv, as schools begin at 10 a.m., due to a strike of the Israel Teachers Union, on June 19, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
View of an empty school at in Tel Aviv, as schools begin at 10 a.m., due to a strike of the Israel Teachers Union, on June 19, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Kindergartens and elementary schools across the country opened two hours late on Tuesday as the Israel Teachers Union continued its partial strike actions as part of a dispute with the Finance Ministry over wages and employment terms.

Educational institutions opened at 10 a.m., but the action did not include special education institutions, which operated as usual.

Students who are older than grade 6 ended their school year on Monday, and thus their schools are no longer included in the strikes.

Tuesday was the third day in a row that the union has held its two-hour morning strike.

At the start of his weekly faction meeting in the Knesset Monday, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman called on union leader Yaffa Ben David to halt the strikes and instead hold talks next Sunday.

“Come without ultimatums, without setting terms. That is our demand: we want to discuss everything,” Liberman said, according to a report from Kan news.

Ben David responded that it was “a waste of time” to delay until next week and called on Liberman “to come himself for talks on Wednesday.”

Yaffa Ben-David, left, speaks at a conference in Jerusalem on February 11, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/ Flash90/ File); Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem on June 12, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The nationwide 8-10 a.m. strike on Sunday came after teachers carried out a series of two-hour strikes in different areas of the country last week.

At the heart of the tug-of-war lie planned Finance Ministry reforms to reduce the power of the Teachers Union, including allowing principals to fire staff without union intervention, and shrinking the pay gap between veteran and new teachers.

The union is demanding that new teachers earn a monthly salary of NIS 10,000 ($2,981) as well as a meaningful increase in experienced teachers’ salaries.

Last month, Ben-David warned that the gradual erosion of teachers’ salaries has put the entire education system at risk of collapse.

“Many educators have already left the system and many more intend to do so by the end of this year,” Ben-David said at the time.

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