School strike drags on despite progress

SSTO head Ran Erez vows: "Until we have an agreement in our hands... we won't go back to work.

erez 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
erez 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The secondary school teachers' strike will continue Sunday after the Secondary School Teachers Union's administration decided the previous night not to temporarily suspend the shutdown, despite what Treasury officials said were significant concessions they made on Friday. Most high schools and some junior high schools have been closed since October 10. The two sides are to meet for further talks at the National Labor Court in Jerusalem on Sunday morning and the court has ordered both sides to submit written reports on the talks before the day is out. At the start of Saturday night's meeting, union head Ran Erez said: "Until we have an agreement in our hands and not just declarations, we will not go back to work, even if this takes another two months." Progress had been reported after Friday's meeting at the court between Erez and representatives of the Finance and Education ministries. Treasury wage director Eli Cohen offered a series of concessions to try to end the strike: no attempts to get court orders against the strikers for two weeks; a commitment to budget NIS 100 million toward additional teaching hours; reducing the number of students per class by 2008; and a 26% to 34% raise in return for implementing the Dovrat reforms. The teachers have been adamant that they receive an immediate 10% raise, a demand not addressed by Cohen's proposal. Also Sunday, the senior university lecturers' strike enters its 19th day.