This strike will be severe, Melchior warns

Knesset Education Committee chairman says "this isn't a situation where the sides can meet halfway."

By HAVIV RETTIG GUR
October 7, 2007 02:05
1 minute read.
This strike will be severe, Melchior warns

melchior 224.88 aj. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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"This strike will last a very long time," said Knesset Education Committee chairman Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad) on Saturday night, speaking of the work stoppage threat issued over the weekend by the Secondary School Teachers Organization. "To stop it, the prime minister must perform a courageous deed and enter into negotiations with both sides to resolve this issue quickly," Melchior added. According to Melchior, the strike will be longer and more difficult to resolve than those in the past because "this isn't a situation where the sides can meet halfway." "The government took an important and correct step toward the teachers with the deal reached with the National Teachers Union [giving teachers of lower grades higher salaries in exchange for a longer work week]," he explained. "Of course that deal wasn't perfect, and doesn't deal with a whole array of critical issues, but it's a step in the right direction. However, because of the government's tactic [of signing with just one union], the SSTO's Ran Erez wasn't part of the negotiations for this deal. So now Erez doesn't accept the agreement, while the government can't give him more than the good deal it gave the NTU after the NTU had conducted serious negotiations." With compromise blocked - for the union because it must show an achievement, for the government because it cannot offer more than it gave the other teachers' union - "this strike could extend to Hanukka," Melchior said. "I call on the sides, including the prime minister, who has the power to dictate policy to the Finance Ministry, to sit and negotiate until this is resolved. This strike will only end up hurting the children, who already lost so much time last year."

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