An organization representing after-school care (Zaharonim) staff in the city declared a work dispute with the municipality and community centers. The declaration was the first necessary legal step in order for the workers to go on strike.

The work dispute comes on the heels of Minister of Education Naftali Bennet’s program to keep schools open on Hanukkah and Passover, which will begin with Passover next week. It is up to municipalities to integrate the program locally in schools and Zaharonim. Jerusalem’s Zaharonim were initially unwilling to accept children who were not already registered throughout the year.

While the Zaharonim workers eventually agreed to do take the extra children, they took the opportunity to open up a dispute about tenure and holiday payments. According to the workers, the municipality is not granting workers a year of tenure next year, a significant step as all Israeli teachers get paid on a scale that takes years of tenure into account. Furthermore, citing holiday bonuses, Zaharonim employees are claiming kindergarten teachers get better benefits though they do similar work.

On the other hand, the organization representing parents’ interests claim that Zaharonim workers in the Zionist sector get paid six times more than those in the ultra-Orthodox sector for the same work.

If no agreement is reached between the local government, parents’ organizations and workers unions, the strike could begin after Passover.

(Photo Photo By Yoav Nachtailer, Wikimedia Commons)