Striking Teachers Return to Work with Agreement on Wages and Hours

Israeli teachers called off their 11-day strike early Monday morning following a marathon, 48-hour negotiating session.

Signatures were put on a contract just in time for Israel Radio’s first broadcast of the day, at 6 a.m.

The sudden return found 1 million pupils scrambling for their books and school clothes.

Actually, some students had gone to school on Sunday, albeit bleary-eyed from Lag B’Omer celebrations. Teachers had put in a practice day back by returning to work Sunday to give back to the Education Ministry a day owed from a previous labor stoppage.

The labor pact signed Monday morning followed more than two years of desultory talks on wages and terms of service. The two years had been interrupted by various periods of labor unrest, strike threats and actual walkouts.

The agreement, negotiated by the teachers and the Education and Finance ministries, was described by Education Minister Shulamit Aloni, in her last day in that position, as “the happiest day of my life.

“We have finally assured our pupils of uninterrupted studies and our teachers with some of their demands for adequate salaries,” she said.

According to the terms of the contract, the teachers are to be granted a 25 percent increase in their gross salaries, to be paid in installments over the next three years, in return for a commitment to add several hours to their weekly teaching schedule and to refrain from engaging in strikes and labor unrest during the coming three years.

The teachers are also to receive a one-time 20 percent gross payment in their next month’s salary, to cover past erosions in their incomes.

The payment installments will begin to be paid at the rate of 10 percent in September, 4 percent next April, 5 percent in September 1994 and a final 2 percent in May 1995.

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