Israel: teachers strike over pay and conditions

Teachers in Haifa and Tel Aviv have voted to take strike action after the collapse of negotiations over pay and conditions.

Submitted by jef costello on April 30, 2007

Teachers plan to launch a full strike today, classes on Sunday were cancelled except for those students preparing for exams.

Teachers have been offered a 22% pay increase over the next few years in exchange for accepting widespread reforms. These reforms include schools being able to pay higher wages to 'oustanding' teachers, changes to employment rules making the firing of 'unsuitable' teachers far easier and an average 8% increase in contact hours.

Pay increases for new teachers and easier progression up the salary scale are also on offer. However this progress comes against a back ground of teaching cuts. It has also been admitted that in order to pay for these reforms cuts (and further increases to working hours) will be necessary.

Teachers have been demanding as much as a 50% increase in wages, in view of the divisive salary measures and the loss of job security then the pay rises seems a lot lower, as it will be paid over several years.

The University student's strike in Israel has entered its third week. As previously reported on libcom students are striking over increased fees and large budget cuts.

Last Wednesday there were widespread reports that the Police had used excessive force to break up a demonstration. The education minister, Youli Tamir, demanded an inquiry into the 'brutal behaviour' of the police. Five students were hospitalised and seven were arrested. A witness claimed that police lost control and attacked a group of 500 students, injuring at least 25.