Israeli Teachers Call Off Strike, to Resume Negotiations With Treasury

High school teachers protest the work overload and the terms of 'significant learning' program imposed by the Education Ministry.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett in the Knesset, January 10, 2016.
Alex Kolomoisky

The high-school teachers’ strike that was due Thursday was canceled Wednesday night, following a meeting of the teachers’ union leaders with education and finance ministry officials, at which it was decided to resume negotiations.

The Secondary School Teachers Association said it had called the three-hour strike to protest the work overload and the terms of the “significant learning” program imposed by the Education Ministry. The association had declared a labor dispute several months ago, as a prelude to a strike.

“The Education Ministry will hold negotiations to resolve the dispute,” the association said Wednesday after the meeting. “It was agreed to give the negotiations another chance to solve the problems until the end of the Passover vacation.”

Ministry officials said Wednesday that they had no idea what the strike was about. “The teachers association has no reason to strike because it signed collective wage agreements in which it undertook to maintain industrial calm until August 31, 2017,” an official said.

Association leader Ran Erez issued a statement on the association’s Facebook page saying “for more than a year and a half we’ve negotiated with the education and finance ministries to solve several pending problems. The talks with the ministries’ officials failed to advance a solution to the problems. We were promised last Thursday that in a few days the Education Ministry’s director general Michal Cohen would respond to our just demands. To my regret, we received no reply from the ministry.”