One Million Kids Have Unscheduled Vacation As Teachers Strike

A dispute between teachers and the Education Ministry meant no classes today for about one million school children from kindergarten through high school ages.

The teachers, demanding the immediate withdrawal of some 3,500 dismissal notices sent to colleagues, stayed off the job in kindergartens and elementary schools and in some high schools and junior high schools. The Education Ministry insists it sent no dismissal notices, merely “warnings” to nontenured teachers or those found unsatisfactory during the past school year.

The elementary teachers were reported ready to go back to work tomorrow. Education Minister Yitzhak Navon met today with the representatives of two rival secondary school teachers’ unions, one affiliated with Histadrut and the other independent. Both have taken job actions this week to protest what they fear will be large scale dismissals because of cuts in the education budget. Their action comes at a sensitive time for students who must take written and oral tests for high school graduation and for university entry. The teachers conducted one written examination this week but refused to give the orals. They said if their demands are not met, their only weapon is to block the matriculation exams.

Meanwhile, striking nurses and administrative employes who disrupted emergency rooms at government hospitals yesterday, rejected a back-to-work order issued by a Jerusalem labor court this morning. They sent a message to Health Minister Mordechai Gur that they cannot work without sufficient staff and adequate salaries.

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