Junior Lecturers at Israeli Colleges End Two-month Strike After Reaching Agreements

Lecturers will give back 30 percent of time lost due to the strike, and will receive improved pay and advance notice regarding firing in agreement reached with Finance Ministry

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Junior lecturers protesting near the government compound in Tel Aviv, November 2020.
Junior lecturers protesting near the government compound in Tel Aviv, November 2020.Credit: Koah LaOvdim
Shira Kadari-Ovadia
Shira Kadari-Ovadia

A two-month strike by junior lecturers at 11 public colleges ended on Sunday after agreements were reached over the weekend that will improve the terms of their employment, while ensuring that lecturers will give students back 30 percent of the time lost due to the strike.

The agreement was reached between the junior lecturers and the supervisor of wages in the Finance Ministry, the Committee of Public College Heads and the Council for Higher Education in Israel.

The junior lecturers, who were represented by the Koah LaOvdim (Power to the Workers) labor union during negotations, launched the strike at the beginning of the academic year about two months ago to protest their working conditions. The lecturers demanded that the colleges discontinue the practice of firing them every summer at the close of the academic year and raise their wages.

Under the terms of the agreement, most lecturers will be considered adjunct faculty, veteran junior lecturers will receive two-year employment contracts, colleges will provide advance notice regarding continued employment, and lecturers will be compensated for courses that are cancelled, for example, due to low registration.

Wages for supervising lab sessions, as well as pension and continuing education fund payment amounts, will also be increased. The lecturers rescinded their demand that salary tables be updated, owing to the the coronavirus crisis. The agreement will be in force for three years, and will be renegotiated in May 2023.

The colleges on strike for the past two months were the Academic College of Tel Aviv, Shenkar School of Engineering and Design, Academic Technological Institute – Holon, Kinneret College, Ruppin Academic Center, Ashkelon Academic College, Hadassah Academic College in Jerusalem, Azrieli Academic College of Engineering, Sapir College, Achva Academic College and Kibbutzim College.

Junior faculty at two other public colleges, Emek Yezreel College and Beit Berl College, who are also represented by the labor union, did not participate in the strike because they had pledged not to do so, but they are expected to sign the agreement later. Junior faculty at nine other public colleges who are not represented by the labor union will not sign on to the new agreement. However, the Finance Ministry has announced that they will be offered the opportunity to sign a similar agreement.

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