Secondary School Strike to Reach Center Today

The rolling strike of the Secondary Schools Teachers' Association reaches the center of the country today, with all classes for students in grades seven to 12 canceled in the affected communities. The union called the strike, which is part of work action that began several weeks ago, to protest the failure to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the Finance Ministry.

Last week, union leaders announced sanctions by secondary school teachers not affected by the regional strikes. They are maintaining their classroom teaching duties but will not take part in extracurricular activities such as conferences, trips and performances. In addition, students with learning disabilities will not receive special assistance, and sessions to help students prepare for matriculation exams will not be held.

"The treasury and Education Ministry representatives conducting the negotiations are incapable of moving the talks forward, and they do not have the authority to accede to any of the teachers' demands," Union Chairman Ran Erez said by way of explaining the sanctions. "Even the finance minister and the education minister lack the authority to proceed, and everything hangs on the lack of a governmental policy on educational spending."

For his part, Education Ministry Director General Shmuel Abuav said the strike "has only losers: The students lose the chance to fulfill their potential and obtain high matriculation scores, while the teachers lose the chance to get the most out of the contract negotiations because the strike casts a pall on the bargaining talks."

The strike affects the following communities: Even Yehuda, Oranit, Elichin, Elad, Alfei Menashe, Elkana, Ariel, Be'er Ya'akov, Beit Dagan, Beit Hashmonai, Bnei Ayash, Brenner, Jaljulya, Givat Shmuel, Gedera, Gderot, Gezer, Gan Yavne, Gan Raveh, Ganei Tikva, Hod Hasharon, Zemer, Hof Hasharon, Taibeh, Tira, Yavne, Yehud, Kochav Yair, Tzur Yigal, Kfar Yonah, Kfar Sava, Kafr Qasem, Lod, Mazkeret Batya, Nes Tziona, Netanya, Emmanuel, Emek Hefer, Pardesiya, Petah Tikva, Tzrifin, Kedumim, Kadima, Kalansua, Kiryat Ekron, Karnei Shomron, Rosh Ha'ayan, Rishon Letzion, Rehovot, Ramle, Shoham and Tel Mond.