Daycare workers in Israel ended their strike on Monday, after marathon negotiations concluded with an agreement to give them financial bonuses, to create a committee for improving early childhood care and to recruit more staff.
The workers will get two bonuses worth 1,500 shekels ($415) each, one during the upcoming High Holidays and another one at Passover. The organizations running the daycare centers agreed to increase the number of trained and certified daycare workers. Additionally, the organizations will receive a designated bonus to increase assistance to day-care staffs. The grants will be funded by the organizations and the Finance Ministry. The sides also agreed that the committee will submit its findings by April.
As a result of the agreement, there will be almost no change in the poor conditions of the early childhood educational system, save for the promise of recruiting more workers. The chances are also low that changes will be made next school year.
The daycare system has been neglected and serves few children in Israel under the age of 3. The daycare center operators’ demand that the regulation regarding the staff-children ratio be changed to meet OECD standards would cost 1.4 billion shekels alone. Even if the committee’s conclusions are made by the April 2019 target date and are adopted, they won’t be implemented before 2020.
Galia Woloch, the chairwoman of Na’amat, an Israeli women's organization, said, “A new horizon was reached for preschoolers. A committee will be established with a clear target date, funding sources and conclusions by April.” She stressed, “We received additional funds from the treasury for caregiver grants, training and help with physical works to ease the distress until then.”
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She added, “This agreement brings with it immediate funding while representing a clear path to solve the crisis in the daycare centers and a new hope for daycare workers, parents, and toddlers.”