On Sunday, Avigdor Liberman, the Finance Minister, asked the State Prosecutor’s Office for an injunction in order to force the teachers to return to work on September 1st when the academic year begins.
This is after negotiations between the government and the teachers union have become stalled.
The Israel Teachers Union and the Finance Ministry have been embroiled in a salary dispute and there has been little progress over the course of months.
Yaffa Ben David, the head of the union, has threatened of teachers going on strike for preventing the school year from beginning on schedule, prompting the Finance Minister to seek such an extreme measure.
Liberman said that they had been forced to get in touch with the State Prosecutor’s Office and ask them for an injunction to ensure the school year can begin without any disruption.
He also added that he hoped the Education Ministry would also join them in making the same demand. On Sunday morning, the two sides had been scheduled for a meeting.
However, it was unclear if they had made any progress in the latest negotiations. A meeting was also held between Liberman and Yair Lapid, the Prime Minister, for discussing the same issue.
The premier said that he would look into the injunction, but also asked the two sides to continue the negotiation process.
Yifat Shasha-Biton, the Education Minister, responded to Liberman’s threat of filing an injunction and said that he was undermining the discussions that had been ongoing for months.
She said that a demand for injunction when all sides are negotiating on agreements that can lead to a timely opening of the school year shows that they are not really interested in reaching an agreement.
She added that they were not invested in the future of the children, or that of the education system. Shasha-Biton called this a national crisis and said that the government needs to solve it.
Teachers Union’s reaction
On Sunday, the head of the union, Ben David referred to the injunction as a ‘disgrace’. She said that they would respect the court’s decision, but it would not solve the education system’s existing problem.
She also said that the teachers would be extremely angry if such a decision is taken. With September 1st approaching, political leaders are actively trying to resolve the issue.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid held meetings with Shasha-Biton, Liberman, chair of the National Parents Association Meron Shiff and Yaffa Ben David, the head of the Teachers Union.
The goal was to come up with a solution that would end the months-long discussions. The talks are stuck over the demand of the union to determine the salary of teachers based on seniority and rank.
But, the Finance Ministry wants to switch to a system that gives raises to teachers who are great at their work. They are offering a 35% raise to new teachers, while only a 3% rise has been suggested for veterans.
In addition, the Finance Ministry also wants to increase the number of working days for the teachers.