Teaching Unions to Strike Monday Over Wage Agreement Impasse

Special ed schools, institutions near Gaza border to remain open; unions blast treasury for failure of talks.

Israel's teaching unions are planning a strike Monday, which will close all schools in the northern and southern parts of the country, in protest at the failure to sign a collective wage agreement.

The strike will include kindergartens, elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. The strike will not affect schools in the Gaza vicinity and special education institutions.

In the south, schools in Be'er Sheva, Eilat, Dimona, Yeruham, Kiryat Gat, Ashkelon and Ashdod will be closed, and in the north, the action will affect Tiberias, Kiryat Shmona, Nahariya, Acre, Karmiel, Safed, Afula and Upper Nazareth.

During recent weeks, the teaching unions have conducted partial strikes across the country as a part of the labor dispute declared last month.

According to the unions, the negotiations with the Finance Ministry have not yielded any results.

Teachers' trade union leader Yossi Wasserman told Haaretz two weeks ago that teachers have been leading Israel in a public struggle to implement widely acceptable reforms in the education system.

"During this period, we operated with societal-public responsibility and we avoided taking steps that could hurt teachers and students," he said. "But the government of Israel and the treasury continue to harm the education system, children, the public and teachers."

Ran Erez, who heads the Association of Secondary School Teachers, added: "The time has come for the treasury to come to its senses and understand that the existing situation in the education system cannot continue."