The senior academic faculty at a number of universities in Israel will strike on Monday, the academic staff's coordination committee announced on Sunday.
Classes at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, University of Haifa, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Bar Ilan University and the Weizmann Institute of Science will not be held on Monday.
The reason given for the strike is the lacking response of the Committee of University Presidents, along with the Finance Ministry and the Planning and Budgeting Committee, to demands for a salary correction. The strike on Monday will be followed by similar strikes in two or three universities per day throughout the rest of the week.
No collective agreement since 2019
"Our collective agreement ended at the end of 2019, and since then it seems that the universities and the Finance Ministry do not want to sign a new agreement. The salary of the lecturers in the senior academic staff in Israel decreased by 8.75% in the period since the end of the agreement and in the coming period, it is expected to decrease further," said Prof. Anat Zaira, the chairwoman of the academic staff's coordination committee at the universities.
"But this doesn't seem to bother the Committee of University Presidents, our employers, and the Finance Ministry. It's amazing to see that to this day, despite months of discussions and repeated requests from our side, we still have not received a clear budget framework, which is a condition and the starting point for any economic negotiations. Since the principles of the agreement of the Labor Union were published, we have been told that we will receive a similar agreement.
"However, the proposals given in three meetings that took place last month after many months of waiting and dragging their feet, are significantly lower than what the other organizations received. It's about conducting negotiations in bad faith and in an unacceptable way, in a way that brought the negotiations to a dead end," Zaira added.
"It is important to note that we are not asking for an addition to the salary base, but we only asked to update our salary in accordance with the erosion suffered by the salary, which has become even more significant in view of the increasing inflation in the economy and the economic uncertainty in this current period. We demand a clear and fair budget framework so that it will be possible to move forward with the negotiations," Zaira explained.
"We embark on a determined fight for a fair wage agreement, for the working conditions of the faculty members, for our right to be organized, for our independence as researchers, and for the independence of the entire higher education system."