Teachers, Treasury Conclude Meeting Over Strike Without Breakthrough

Education Min. Tamir: Talks to focus on proposal which could bump teacher salaries by 36 percent.

A meeting on Sunday between the Treasury's deputy wage director, Ofra Bartov, Education Ministry officials and secondary school teachers union chairman Ran Erez ended with no breakthrough toward ending the four-day-old teachers strike.

Education Minister Yuli Tamir said Saturday night that she believed negotiations would resume within a day or two. According to Tamir, the two sides would mull over a proposal whereby all teachers in middle school and high school would receive an immediate 11 percent bump in their salary. The union and the state would then resume talks on an additional 26 percent wage increase.

According to the proposals, high school teachers who provide assistance in special projects, such as aiding students in studying for the bagrut matriculation exam, would be eligible for further pay bonuses.

"This way, most teachers can attain a salary increase of at least 36 percent," Tamir said.

The minister said that there are no plans as of yet to request an injunction against the teachers, although she did add that "once we get to the period of winter matriculation exams, we will have a much bigger dilemma on our hands."

The secondary school teachers union rebuffed Tamir's offer, countering with a demand for an immediate 15 percent salary hike. Erez said he believed the teachers' demand would be rejected "due to the fact that the matter no longer depends on the education minister and not even on the prime minister."

"The key is in the hands of the primary school teachers union, which opposes any possibility that we would get a better deal than the agreement they signed," Erez said. "The problem is that the agreement with the primary school teachers union is not feasible and is not fitting for secondary education."

A procession of teachers began making its way by foot from the Ma'agan Michael region just south of Haifa towards a large protest scheduled to be held Monday afternoon in front of the Tel Aviv Museum.