Israel's Junior Lecturers Declare Strike, Following Lead of Medical and Labor Sectors

One-day strike over employment conditions to take place on October 30, first day of academic year; National Student Union may also strike in solidarity.

Junior faculty at Israel’s universities have joined the trend set recently by medical residents and the Histadrut Labor Federation and declared a strike against pay and difficult working conditions, set for October 30. 

The one-day strike, which will take place the first day of the new academic year, was announced Tuesday by the Forum of Junior Faculty.

Tel Aviv University campus 474 Tali Meir
Tali Meir

The 9,300 members of faculty represented by the organization teach half of the classroom hours in Israel’s universities.

The strike action is a protest against general working conditions and lack of progress in renegotiation of conditions with the Committee of University Presidents, according to the Forum.

Junior faculty is demanding an end to conditions which they describe as “like those of contract workers,” with no employment security. Junior academic staff are employed on a semester–by-semester basis, with no long-term contracts, the Forum says.

The demands also include an allocation of NIS 60 million to improve working conditions and professional development opportunities for junior academic staff.

Disruptions will continue until a new agreement on working conditions is reached with the Committee of University Presidents, the Forum said.

The Forum’s announcement follows that of National Student Union Chairman Itzik Shmuli on Monday, that the Student Union was also considering striking over conditions of contract workers on university campuses and in solidarity with medical residents.

The crisis in Israel’s health service reached a low point on Monday, when at least 355 medical residents put their resignations over working conditions into effect and did not show up for work. The number of no-shows was expected to reach at least 558 on Tuesday.

Also on Monday, Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini declared a labor dispute over treatment of contractors, saying that human resource agency workers are frequently employed under poor and undignified working conditions.