Childcare centers launch indefinite strike on working conditions

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Workers at state-supervised daycares were to go on indefinite strike from Sunday to protest their working conditions, a move that will affect tens of thousands of toddlers who frequent these facilities.

“The damage to parents, children and the Israeli economy is due to the government’s refusal to sit down with workers for negotiations,” unions representing them said, calling for immediate talks with the Treasury.

“Prime Minister Bennett and Finance Minister Liberman are ready to negotiate with Hamas, but refuse to negotiate with teachers who earn 5,000 shekels a month and collapse under the burden,” the unions said.

Government-supervised daycares warned the state a month ago that they would strike over serious staff shortages and low wages unless a solution was found. Union action will affect some 50,000 young children enrolled in these institutions.

A demonstration will also take place on Sunday morning in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv.

Economy Minister Orna Barbivai said she recently met representatives of daycare centers and expressed support for their “justified” demands.

“Despite this, the minister believes that it is not fair to have a strike tomorrow before having exhausted the dialogue with the Ministry of Finance,” said her office. “The strike is expected to harm thousands of children during a complicated time, a health crisis, and will prevent many parents from going to work as usual.”

Government-supervised child care centers opened after the Sukkot holidays on Wednesday, but several hours late as caregivers protested their working conditions.

Separately, as of Sunday, more than one million Israelis will lose their Green Passes after a policy change dictates that a COVID-19 booster is required six months after receiving the first two doses. Among them are nearly half of the country’s teachers, according to an estimate by the Israel Teachers’ Union.

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