School strike headed to arbitration


Israel’s education minister and the head of its Secondary School Teachers Organization will start an arbitration process to end a teachers’ strike.

Yuli Tamir and Ran Erez agreed to have Adi Eldar, the chairman of the Council of Local Authorities, serve as a mediator in the negotiations, Army Radio reported Sunday, the 17th day of the strike.

Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini warned that if the government does not resolve the crisis with the striking teachers, the labor organization would declare a general strike.

Tamir said Sunday that if an agreement with striking teachers is not reached this week, she will appeal to the National Labor Court to issue an injunction halting the strike.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Cabinet Sunday that he did not intend to acquiesce to the demands of the teachers’ union and would not cancel reforms agreed to by the education and finance ministries, as well as by the teachers. They include bolstering the status of high school administrators and more teaching hours.

Also Sunday, the senior lecturers’ strike in universities across the country entered its second week. The lecturers are protesting a decline in salaries and the absence since 2001 of a collective agreement on wages.

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