Precedent: Collective agreement for Rosh Ha’ayin music teachers

In October 2014, another labor dispute was declared after the municipality submitted a draft agreement which was very different from principles that had been previously agreed on, and which in...

In October 2014, another labor dispute was declared after the municipality submitted a draft agreement which was very different from principles that had been previously agreed on, and which in fact granted no wage increases at all. Following a two-day strike and debates at the Tel Aviv Labor Court, an accord was finally reached in December 2014 over the economic terms of the agreement.

However, further legal hurdles were then raised, which deferred the signing of the draft to June 2015. Since the agreement required the approval of the Finance Ministry’s wages officer, the final signing was further postponed until the signature could be obtained. When the approval was finally granted in November, the municipality refused to sign and a labor dispute was declared for the fourth time. Finally, the pressure led to the signing on January 4, 2016.

This long path to the agreement postponed the signing, but the wage supplements will be applied retroactively from January 1, 2015, so the teachers in effect receive compensation for the delay. These are significant supplements, and the wage scale is particularly important since it ensures the employment stability and security that were sorely lacking.

WAC-MAAN representatives are very satisfied with the results. They believe the Rosh Ha’ayin agreement will open the way to unionizing in dozens of centers around the country, where music teachers are employed on precarious terms for low wages. WAC-MAAN, which represents teachers in a number of colleges of art, photography and media, welcomes the music teachers today. Most of the thousands of teachers in such centers are Jewish, middle-class and educated, and some are well known artists in their own right, but nonetheless they are still subject to poor employment conditions. Unionization is the solution to this contradiction between their public image and status on the one hand, and their employment terms and the attitudes of employers (including municipalities and public organizations) on the other. WAC-MAAN’s doors are open to all teachers who experience the destructive results of the neoliberal capitalism currently dominant everywhere.

It should be noted that during this long struggle, WAC-MAAN was accompanied by Atty. Aya Bartenstein, its legal advisor, and assisted by Attys. Moran Savurai and Amir Basha.

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