University lecturers threaten to strike

Action meant to protest Finance Ministry's refusal to "negotiate properly" over wage dispute.

By HAVIV RETTIG GUR
October 10, 2007 00:10
1 minute read.
Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv University 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Israel's high schools won't be alone this month in experiencing disruptive strikes over wage disagreements, according to an announcement by the Coordinating Committee of Senior Lecturers Unions, which represents the full professors of Israel's public universities. The lecturers' union announced that if negotiations with the Finance Ministry over wages remained "stalled, the academic year simply won't begin." The announcement comes following meetings on Tuesday between the committee, officials from the Finance Ministry Salaries Department and a representative of the Council of University Presidents. In late September, the university presidents threatened to keep the universities closed if they didn't receive some NIS 300 million in immediate funding from the Finance Ministry promised to them by the Shochat Committee recommendations, though these recommendations have yet to be formally implemented, since they lack the support of student unions. The presidents' threat still stands. According to CUP chairman and Bar-Ilan University president Moshe Kaveh, without the funds, the universities will simply be unable to pay the salaries required to open the academic year. Now the senior lecturers are threatening to strike over the refusal of the Finance Ministry to "negotiate properly" over an increase to wages that have remained stagnant for several years. According to committee officials, following Tuesday's meeting, the Finance Ministry would only schedule the next meeting a week later, on October 16. The academic year is slated to begin Sunday, October 21. "It's inconceivable that 10 days before the start of the academic year, serious negotiations are not taking place," said Coordinating Committee chairman Prof. Tzvi Hacohen. "The Treasury must understand that we're not asking for a wage increase, but merely a return to the real wage level of the past," he added.


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