Education Ministry has 'declared war'

High school teachers who don't get overtime pay threaten to strike.

ulpan class 88 (photo credit: )
ulpan class 88
(photo credit: )
The school year is set to resume this coming Sunday following the Pessah Holiday, but some 600 high school teachers from across the country may not have a place of work to return to. The Education Ministry, based on a decision made two years to cut some NIS 60 million from the education system and to reduce the weekly curriculum by three hours, has said it would send letters of dismissal to the teachers. The teachers, for their part, have threatened to undertake a multi-staged strike. In the first stage teachers were expected to cause disruptions regarding the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test, scheduled to take place in most schools at the beginning of May. Teachers are expected to prepare the students for the test, but do receive payment for the overtime work. In the second stage, the teacher's union said it would disrupt general classes and the bagrut [matriculation] exam if the Education Ministry follows through with its plan. Despite the threats from the teacher's union, however, chances were slim that the educational system would be completely shut down. The Education Ministry was also expected to petition the National Labor court on Thursday in an attempt to prevent the teachers from striking. The teacher's union responded to the ministry's intention to go to the National Labor court by saying the move was "a declaration of war." "We will struggle with all our might," promised Ran Erez, the chairman for the high school teachers union. Implying that the teachers were prepared to deal with any court order, Erez said, "We cannot come to terms with the lip service from politicians. Even if god forbid they succeed in court they still will have not solved their problems."