Jerusalem: One Day Warning Strike Of Afternoon Daycare Programs

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A workers’ union committee will suspend the afternoon daycare in Jerusalem on Monday, 8 Iyar, for one day. The workers, 800 in number, include kindergarten teachers and assistants, all protesting their procrastination with the heads of community administrations and the municipality, as talks have been going on for almost a year.

The facts reveal the gaps between them and the municipality and the community administrations as part of the mediation talks between the parties that began last week. Among the unresolved problems raised by committee are: The municipality and the community administrations refuse to ensure that the seniority promised to the workers will be granted next year.

“The municipality’s insistence is not clear,” says Mary Levy, a member of the committee. “We are fighting for the quality of the daycare centers – today workers are surviving on average for two years – the system constantly absorbs inexperienced personnel and trains them, and this is the municipality’s message to parents … Working with toddlers is a gigantic responsibility.

Workers explain that they are asking for NIS 100 for every two years of experience per employee, questioning why they react as if this sum is going to break the municipal budget?”

More minds are working on the sum to be spent for a holiday gift for the workers, which is significantly lower than that given to the helpers, who receive NIS 600-800, and the kindergarten teachers work for NIS 1,300.

As part of the mediation, the municipality demanded that the workers not be put to rest until the end of May, as a condition for granting the holiday gift that will be given retroactively. In the meantime, the municipality undertook to study the workers’ demands. “There is no justification for this leg-dragging,” adds Rauma Schlesinger, who accompanies the afternoon programs on behalf of the employees. The municipality had a long time to study the subject. She adds, “Providing industrial quiet until May means giving up the ability to protest against, more procrastination.”

In addition to the issue of the holiday gift, another problem that is troubling the facts is the use of the summer vacation program. “The project has received media attention, but many issues remain unresolved – the fact that workers are required to work eight hours a day, with children they do not know and with a number of children who are greater than usual, and time and again it turns out that the problems that bother us are problems that should bother parents.”

The committee of women workers expects an intensive discussion to deal with the open issues, will regulate the status of the workers and will dispel the possibility of future strikes.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)