Some 400 educators and assistants working in the 150 afters-school programs in
Jerusalem went on strike Tuesday to protest deteriorating employment
One of their complaints centered on the Jerusalem
Municipality’s decision to implement longer days at the after-school centers for
the second year in a row – a move that provided more activities for children,
but negatively impacted the workers’ salaries.
The educators also said
the city refused to take seniority into consideration when fixing
“We welcome the municipality’s intention to continue the longer
activity days, but why do so at the expense of the workers?” said workers’ union
representative Sarah Sela.
Another of the problematic conditions, the
educators explained, was that after-school programs were only eligible to employ
an assistant if the center hosted 30 or more toddlers, creating a difficult
situation for programs just below the threshold.
responded in a statement that it had worked extensively this year to improve the
employment conditions of educators in after-school programs – “way beyond the
budgeting at its disposal from the ministries of Education and
According to the municipality, “the after-school program
assistants in Jerusalem are paid on the basis of a monthly salary, unlike in all
the other municipalities in the country, where after-school programs’ workers
receive an hourly wage.”
It added that the city had “worked with parents
and increased the educators’ salaries by about 50 percent over the amount
determined by the Education Ministry.”
The municipality took the
educators to task for the strike, which it called “unnecessary” and said was
“Striking at a time when children are back in
kindergartens after an extended vacation, is a threat with serious implications
for parents who, in order to be able to work, use this very important service,”
it said, adding that this “attempt to extort the city during a period of
municipal elections is foolish and will not succeed.”
Association said that the strike, which happened on short notice, showed the
educators’ lack of responsibility toward parents who, because they were not
given time to find alternative arrangements, were forced to leave work and pick
up their children in the middle of the day.
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