Precedent: Collective agreement for Rosh Ha’ayin music teachers

A collective agreement over the employment terms of teachers at the Rosh Ha’ayin music center was signed today, Jan. 4, 2016, after lengthy negotiations. Mayor Shalom Ben Moshe, who is...

A collective agreement over the employment terms of teachers at the Rosh Ha’ayin music center was signed today, Jan. 4, 2016, after lengthy negotiations. Mayor Shalom Ben Moshe, who is also chair of the organization which runs the music center, signed the agreement this morning with the Independent Trade Union Centre WAC-MAAN and the Workers’ Committee of the music teachers. The agreement will be applied retroactively from January 2015.

Teacher of the Music Centre vote to strike Sep 2014

 

For the first time, the music teachers will receive wages for the month of August, including paid vacation. The wage scale will now take seniority into account, as well as academic qualifications and experience, so that experienced teachers whose wages failed to reflect their professional contribution will now be fairly remunerated. This scale also offers a clear promotional path for their younger colleagues. In addition, the agreement includes increased wage supplements for conducting (choirs and orchestras).

The agreement is welcome news for many music teachers who were not officially classified as professionals, who studied and worked for years as “service providers” lacking all social benefits. Many music and art teachers in Israel work in centers run by local authorities and within schools, yet their wages are paid by the hour, without compensation for sickness, holidays or dismissal. In addition, many are not paid during the summer recess, when activities are suspended for two or even three months, which leaves them in a precarious financial position and disrupts continuous employment (a precondition for certain benefits in Israel).

Orit Guri Zulotov, a Workers’ Committee member at the Rosh Ha’ayin Music Center, noted, “I am extremely happy to continue my work in music without the disturbing thought that I am not being fairly paid, and without the cloud of labor disputes or strikes hanging over me. I am proud of our achievement and that of WAC-MAAN, and I very much hope that all music teachers in Israel will take this precedent another step forward—and unionize.”

The agreement was made possible by two factors: on one hand, a determined group of teachers who decided to go all the way with their struggle, and on the other, the organizational and legal direction provided by WAC-MAAN throughout the struggle.

The agreement was not easily reached. The teachers set up the committee and joined WAC-MAAN way back in May 2013. At first, the Rosh Ha’ayin municipality refused to negotiate, using the approaching local elections as an excuse. After a labor dispute was declared, negotiations were scheduled for September 2013, but in October of that year the mayor was replaced and the process ground to a halt.

In January 2014, WAC-MAAN again declared a labor dispute and demanded negotiations with the new municipal leadership. The teachers and students gave a public concert in front of town hall to protest the way the municipality was dragging its feet. The teachers were under huge pressure to cancel the concert and avoid causing discomfort to the new mayor, but eventually they were invited into town hall where the mayor, Shalom Ben Moshe, declared that he would correct the historical injustice and sign a fair wage agreement.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Pages: 1 2

Pages ( 1 of 2 ): 1 2Next »

About engmaanadmin