Negotiators from the Israeli Treasury and the teachers’ union achieved a breakthrough in talks Wednesday morning, laying the foundation for an agreement which will allow the school year to begin Thursday, as scheduled.
Talks continued through the night Tuesday, even as the state filed a petition with the Tel Aviv Regional Labor Court requesting an injunction barring teachers from striking.
Just after 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, however, representatives from both sides announced that the framework for a deal had been agreed upon.
As part of the deal, the Treasury agreed to increase the starting wage for teachers to 9,000 shekels per month, with bonuses starting at 1,100 shekels.
Grants for teachers completing additional training courses three years after beginning work as teachers will be raised to 10,000 shekels.
The entry-level wage for school administrators will be raised to 19,000.
Tenure will now be granted only after three years, and the process for dismissing problematic teachers has been shortened.
In addition, the deal modifies the school vacation schedule, with teachers now require to work on Lag B’Omer, Ta’anit Esther (the fast before Purim), and the days immediately following festivals (Issru Hag).
In exchange, schools will close during the period in between Yom Kippur and Sukkot, with teachers also granted two extra vacation days, to be used whenever they choose.
As part of the Finance Ministry’s plan to encourage outstanding teachers, administrators will be able to offer highly rated teachers monthly bonuses of between 400 to 1,000 shekels.
The Finance Ministry announced that it also intends to extend state-sponsored summer school programs through the end of July.
With the strike cancelled, the labor dispute will be withdrawn from the court docket.
Yaffa Ben-David, secretary-general of the teachers' union, hailed the deal as "real good news" for teachers, saying it would "protect their working conditions and improve their salaries."
Ben-David added, however, that the changes are "just the first step."