SSTO: Gov't not taking teachers' strike seriously

Bar-On urges Erez to return to negotiating table as high school strike enters its 14th day; public universities remain on partial strike.

By HAVIV RETTIG GUR
October 25, 2007 02:06
1 minute read.
SSTO: Gov't not taking teachers' strike seriously

school strike 224.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The high school strike entered its 14th day on Thursday, as Secondary School Teachers Organization representatives accused the government of failing to take the strike seriously. The high school teachers' union, the SSTO, is striking for a collective wage agreement missing since 2001. The union went on strike after the Sukkot holiday, after rejecting a wage reform deal offered by the government that had already been signed by the larger National Teachers' Union. The SSTO has condemned the existing deal, which would increase teachers' working hours by some 30 percent while only increasing the monthly salary by 25 percent and failing to deal with other structural issues, such as classroom size and teacher training. The SSTO's ongoing demands that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert intervene to resolve the crisis were rebuffed by the prime minister this week. Finance Minister Ron Bar-On, visiting in Washington D.C., told reporters that SSTO head Ran Erez should return to the negotiating table, adding that the crisis was solvable. Meanwhile, Israel's public universities remained on partial strike Thursday as senior lecturers refused to teach their courses. The SLU is also demanding a collective wage agreement that would compensate for what the union has called "a severe erosion of wages" in the past few years. Professor Zvi Hacohen, head of the Senior Lecturers' Union, echoed the SSTO's criticism of the government. Noting the stalled negotiations with government officials, Hacohen said that "higher education isn't a priority in this country." According to Hacohen, government officials are not even available for meetings in order to resolve the crisis. The Junior Lecturers' Union went on a one day strike on Wednesday in "solidarity" with the senior lecturers, but the junior lecturers' were expected to return to class Thursday.


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