Students temporarily halt strike following capitulation by teachers association

Teachers initiated the strike in protest of lowered salaries and deteriorating working conditions.

Teacher with students (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Teacher with students
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
High school students announced on Tuesday that they would cancel plans to hold a nationwide strike on Wednesday, after the Secondary School Teachers Association indefinitely suspended its decision to cancel outside- school activities.
“We are pleased to inform everyone that the sanctions by the Teachers Association were frozen, and as of now we will continue activities in school. We achieved our goal, at least for now. The strike tomorrow is canceled,” the National Student Council wrote on the “student protest” Facebook page.
The teachers initiated their strike in protest of lowered salaries and deteriorating working conditions, and hoped to pressure the Finance and Education ministries to meet their demands.
At the request of Education Minister Shai Piron, however, the Teachers Association held a meeting on Tuesday and agreed to temporarily withdraw its directive to suspend field trips.
Piron called for the Teachers Association and Finance Minister Yair Lapid to meet with him on Thursday to resolve the dispute.
“To reach this meeting with clean hands and willingly, we accepted his [Piron’s] request to suspend the sanctions of not leaving school premises [for work], for a fixed period whose length depends on the outcome of the meeting on Thursday,” Teachers Association chairman Ran Erez said.
The student counter-strike had gained momentum in the past few days, with the protest Facebook page getting 32,728 “likes” since its creation on January 9.
“We sympathize with the striking teachers and understand them, but ask that it does not come at our expense,” the organizers of the strike wrote on the Facebook page.
Student reactions to the cancellation of the intended strike were skeptical at best, with many calling to unofficially continue the strike.
“The sanctions were only frozen,” a student wrote on the Facebook page comments section. “We need to continue the strike until their final cancellation; besides, we can’t notify everyone at the last minute that the strike is canceled.”
Another student angrily wrote, “The students finally have some power and we are folding?” A number of youngsters wrote on the Facebook page that they were supposed to have field trips on Wednesday that remained canceled.
The National Student Council warned students in a statement issued on the Facebook page that any attempt to strike would not be endorsed and would therefore be illegal. The council said it would closely follow any developments resulting from Thursday’s intended meeting, and should the teacher’s decide to resume the strike, the students would be ready.