Teachers threaten not to begin school year

The Secondary School Teachers Union announced on Sunday night that the school year would not begin in three weeks as planned, after negotiations with representatives of the Finance and Education Ministries over salary agreements fell apart, Army Radio reported on Monday morning. The union declared that only the intervention of Education Minister Yuli Tamir and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would resolve the crisis. Although this scenario recurs every year before classes begin, union head Ran Erez warned that this was no empty threat. "Since 2001, we're working without a collective agreement. They're not prepared to give us any raise in salary, they're not prepared to improve our working conditions, and so it appears that we won't start the school year," he said.