Jerusalem — Israeli universities are being hit by their third strike in a year today as junior, nontenured lecturers begin a labor action to protest their working conditions.
Last year students staged a five-week strike to protest planned cuts in government support for education and increases in tuition. Last fall tenured professors stopped work for 90 days to protest budget cuts and erosion of their salaries. That work action caused the fall semester to start three months late and affected the summer semester.
Besides a pay increase, the junior lecturers are demanding that they be granted benefits. The instructors now are fired every eight months to prevent them from attaining employee rights under Israeli law. Talks with university heads are continuing as a rolling series of “warning strikes” begins.
Today the lecturers stopped work at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa, and a different university will be the target each day. Strike leaders said there would be an all-out stoppage if the dispute was not settled by week’s end. —Matthew Kalman