Secondary School Teachers to Continue Striking on Thursday

Strike began Wednesday across the country; teachers to halt strike for Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies.

The Secondary Schools Teachers' Association decided Wednesday to continue striking across the country on Thursday, in protest of stalled negotiations between the association and the Finance Ministry.

The teachers also said they would continue their strike despite potential disruptions to matriculation exams, which are scheduled to begin May 2.

The association decided, however, not to be on strike at the beginning of next week, in order to avoid disruption to Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies.

The teachers decided Tuesday to go on strike throughout the country beginning Wednesday, shutting down grades 7 through 12.

"Despite the fact that the Finance Ministry committed itself in writing to conducting uninterrupted, intensive, and effective negotiations, we have remained in the same situation," said Ran Erez, the association's chairman, prior to the decision.

"This attempt has also failed," he added. "It has been made clear to us beyond any doubt that the objective of the Finance Ministry is to drag its feet, get as close as possible to the end of the school year, and delay continuation of the struggle to next year. We have received negative responses to all of our demands, and the Finance Ministry was committed to dealing first with shortening the process of firing teachers."

In the weeks leading up to the Passover break, the teachers' association conducted rolling strikes in various parts of the countries, and instructed teachers not to assist in any extra-curricular activities. At the end of March, the teachers agreed to resume talks with the treasury on a new employment agreement and a series of other professional issues, but the organization says the talks did not produce any results and only three meetings were actually held.