The new school year will begin on September 2, as originally scheduled, following a National Labor Court ruling that came after hours of deliberation in Jerusalem late Monday night. The court ruled that the Secondary School Teachers Organization (SSTO), which had threatened to launch a strike at the start of the year, may strike on September 5 instead. In the interim, the court instructed the teachers and the government to conduct negotiations over the union's demands for higher pay and better working conditions, and report back to it next week. On Monday afternoon, the Finance Ministry and the Education Ministry teamed up with the municipalities of Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv, and the Union of Local Authorities in Israel to request a court order barring the teachers from striking. A representative from the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday that these bodies sought the order because of the high school teachers' unwillingness to accept the conditions offered in recent negotiations. "It seems to be that the strike is their goal instead of a means to an end," a treasury representative told The Jerusalem Post. Frustrations on both sides of the negotiations reached a climax as the National Teachers Union, representing 80% of the country's teachers, has already accepted the reforms offered by the Finance Ministry. Keren Shaked, spokeswoman for the SSTO reiterated the union's stance on the court's ruling, "We are still living in a democratic country and as a union of workers, fighting for your rights is legitimate - and that includes the right to strike."