J’lem after-school workers, city reach deal
By DANIELLE ZIRI
Salaries to be cut by only eight percent, according to deal reached after staffers strike.
Jerusalem after-school programs’ staffers reached an agreement with the
municipality on Wednesday night to minimize recent salary cuts, which workers
had protested earlier this week.
The agreement, reached at a meeting
between Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, parents, and representatives of the
educators, states that the salaries of after-school programs’ workers in the
city will be reduced by eight percent instead of the announced 25 to 50%
resulting from the recent implementation of a new reform.
Committee, appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – following the summer
2011 social justice protests – decided to lower the cost of after-school programs
in order to ease the situation of working parents.
The reform was
implemented last month in Jerusalem as part of a pilot for the project,
requested by the municipality. In the process, the staff at these programs had
been switched over from a global salary to an hourly one, resulting in a
reduction of their pay.
The staffers had gone on strike over the issue on
Sunday, which triggered the meeting.
Jerusalem City Council member Rachel
Azaria, who joined the struggle after receiving many complaints from local
education centers and parents, welcomed the agreement which will “allow
after-school centers staffers to receive fairer wages and conditions than were
“As Jerusalemites, we are proud of the struggle we led
together in solidarity – parents and educators. We know this is just the first
step in regulating the salaries of teachers and assistants, and improving the
quality of school centers as part of the reform, and we will work on the
subject,” Azaria added.
“This program was imposed on us without informing
or consulting with us, and now the municipality had to recognize us as workers
whose rights have been violated,” educator and representative at the meeting
Sarah Sela said on Thursday.
“It is important to clarify: We are not
against the system. On the contrary, we are part of it, and our struggle is
first and foremost to provide quality care for children,” she said.
added that educators are determined to continue to join forces to fight a number
of points that have not yet been dealt with, such as the issue of overcrowded
and understaffed classrooms.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said the
agreement will allow the municipality “to operate all the after-school programs
and give Jerusalem parents a quality education system at a lower
“I’m glad we were able, together, to significantly improve
staffers’ salaries, allowing them to continue to educate pupils in the city,”
He also stressed that the Trajtenberg reform to cheapen
after-school activities is “a revolution that provides a significant benefit for
Barkat added that he has the intention of continuing to
pursue and expand such services.