Teachers, gov't continue talks as start of school year remains unclear

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton said she was optimistic that an agreement could be reached.

 Teachers protest for better working conditions and wages, August 29, 2022 (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Teachers protest for better working conditions and wages, August 29, 2022
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Whether or not the school year will start on schedule on September 1 was still unclear on Monday evening, as the Teachers' Union and Finance Ministry continued efforts to reach an agreement.

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton told N12 that she was optimistic that an agreement could be reached, saying "if there's really a desire and an intention to get to a deal, we could close this in a few hours."

Shasha-Biton added that Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman also expressed optimism about the talks. "We very much hope that tomorrow during the day we'll get to an agreement."

Union leader lashes out at Finance Ministry despite news of optimism

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Teachers' Union Ron Erez lashed out at the Finance Ministry on Monday, stating in a letter that officials in the ministry were "torpedoing" every way to reach an agreement and were "making fun of the students of Israel and the entire education system."

The Finance Ministry responded to Erez on Monday evening, saying "We are sorry that the chairman of the teachers' organization chooses to personally and falsely attack public servants."

 EDUCATION MINISTER Yifat Shasha-Biton visits a classroom last year. Will this school year open on time?  (credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90) EDUCATION MINISTER Yifat Shasha-Biton visits a classroom last year. Will this school year open on time? (credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)

The ministry invited the chairman to discuss the draft agreements that have already been forwarded to him.

According to KAN news, the central unresolved issues in the talks as of Monday evening were the vacations that teachers would need to give up in order to get some Fridays off and the firing of teachers over pedagogical issues.

Meanwhile, progress was recorded in the talks on the wages of teachers and compensation for principals.

For weeks, the Teachers' Union has threatened not to start the school year on time if their demands concerning wages and working conditions are not met.