Protesting teachers interrupt PM speech

Outbursts prompt skirmishes to break out between business managers and teachers at IMC event.

teachers pissed at pm 22 (photo credit: )
teachers pissed at pm 22
(photo credit: )
A group of teachers interrupted a speech delivered by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at an Israel Management Center (IMC) conference in Tel Aviv on Monday with incessant outbursts and shouting. "The prime minister is not speaking to us, he isn't prepared to listen to us," the teachers exclaimed. "I was taught in civics in school that even when you don't agree with someone, you do not interrupt him while he is speaking," responded Olmert. "Here sits a group of people that now determines state policy but you are neglecting and abandoning the future. The prime minister must intervene in the education crisis, you are neglecting education," continued the disgruntled teachers, adding: "you are causing us to be ashamed of the country." The business managers trying to listen to Olmert's speech booed the teachers and skirmishes broke out between them, prompting the protesting teachers to shout: "You are violent, you are giving a bad example to your students." Eventually, security guards ejected the teachers from the hall but not before Olmert was forced to cut short his speech. On Monday, the high school teachers' strike entered its 24th day. The Secondary School Teachers Organization is seeking a new and improved salary agreement. Meanwhile, Education Minister Yuli Tamir and SSTO head Ran Erez attended a discussion in the Knesset Education Committee on the teachers' strike. On Sunday, Histadrut Labor Federation chairman Ofer Eini took a leading role in negotiations between the government and the striking Secondary School Teachers Organization SSTO in an effort to end the labor dispute and return teachers to their classrooms. In a specially arranged meeting, the Histadrut's executive committee endorsed Eini as the new lead mediator between the government and the SSTO. Union of Local Authorities (ULA) chairman Adi Eldar unexpectedly quit last week when negotiations repeatedly stalled. Late last week, National Labor Court President Steve Adler gave the teachers until Sunday to respond to a petition demanding the resumption of teaching for 11th and 12th grades. Adler extended the deadline until Monday, giving the two sides time to reach an agreement before teachers are forced back to work.