High school teachers are to stop giving exams from Tuesday, as part of ongoing strike action, as they demand wage increases.
The Israel Teacher’s Union on Monday announced that, in addition to a one-day strike in schools in the north of the country, it will instruct all members to cease administering exams until its demands are met.
Some 9,000 teachers will take part in the one-day strike, which will affect schools in Afula, Beit She’an, Kafr Kana, Migdal HaEmek, Nazareth Illit and Tirat Zvi.
The strike, the fourth in the last several weeks, along with the refusal to examine pupils, was called by teachers demanding higher salaries, who claim the government is procrastinating over talks.
The action will prevent students from sitting preliminary standardized exam which count towards their final “bagrut” matriculation grade. The first national matriculation exam is scheduled for mid-January.
The teachers’ union representing high school staff wants an immediate monthly gross wage increase for starting teachers, from NIS 6,400 ($1,820) to NIS 8,000 ($2,275), along with a comparable raise for teachers with up to seven years experience. In addition, the union said that teachers who have been teaching for eight years or more must receive an extra NIS 600 ($170) a month.
Union leader Ran Erez said some of the other demands would not cost the Finance Ministry anything, but would improve work conditions for teachers.
The teachers claimed the Finance Ministry is “refusing to reach an agreement in good faith.”
Erez claimed talks with the ministry broke down after it agreed to the wage hike, but only on condition it be phased in over the next four years. Since the ministry was not prepared to approve the increase immediately, he said there was no point in further negotiations and no alternative but to strike.