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Tel Aviv-area schools, kindergartens to open late as teacher strike continues

With negotiations for better pay and working conditions failing to achieve breakthrough, union leader warns that labor actions will be expanded

Illustration of an empty classroom in a school in Mevaseret Zion, August 27, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Illustration of an empty classroom in a school in Mevaseret Zion, August 27, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Schools and kindergartens in the Tel Aviv area will open late on Thursday, with classes beginning at 10 a.m.

The disruption is part of an ongoing struggle by the Israel Teachers Union for better pay and working conditions.

The affected communities include: Or Yehuda, Bnei Brak, Bat Yam, Givatayim, Herzliya, Holon, Netanya, Petah Tikva, Kiryat Ono, Ramat Gan, Ramat Hasharon, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Azor and Kfar Shmaryahu.

According to the teachers’ union, the strikes will be held at preschools, elementary schools and middle schools.

Schools were shuttered in the southern region of Israel on Wednesday morning as part of the union’s campaign.

At the heart of the tug-of-war lies planned Finance Ministry reforms to reduce the power of the teachers union, including allowing principals to fire staff without union intervention and shrink the pay gap between veterans and new teachers by setting wages according to competence, as opposed to experience.

Secretary-general of the Israel Teachers’ Union Yaffa Ben-David attends a conference of the Israeli Television News Company in Jerusalem on March 7, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman has also proposed that the number of vacation days in the school system be adjusted to come closer to the number of vacation days offered to other workers, in a bid to ease the pressure on working parents.

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, according to Ynet, which said that some longtime teachers are only earning NIS 7,500 ($2,235) a month.

Israel Teachers Union head Yaffa Ben-David warned on Wednesday that if no progress is made, the association will expand its actions.

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