Dutch teachers threaten national strike

Dutch primary and secondary school teachers have announced an ultimatum – if the cabinet does not allocate hundreds of millions more euros to education by October 21, teachers and school leaders will strike nationwide on November 6.

In July, trade unions and the umbrella organizations PO Council (primary education) and VO Council (secondary education) called on Minister Slob to invest another 423.5 million euros toward the 2020 education budget. The joint claim requested the funding in order to raise educator salaries, reduce work pressure, and to aid the teacher shortage.

Last March, tens of thousands of teachers – including those in higher education – protested on the Malieveld in The Hague during a national teacher strike. This strike was also motivated by high work pressure and low pay for educators. According to Algemene Onderwijsbond AOb chairman Liesbeth Verheggen, unlike the March strike, the upcoming demonstration should occur at various locations across the nation instead of in one central location.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte promised last week during the General Political Considerations that he would set aside funding as a one-off investment toward these education shortcomings but was not willing to commit to a particular amount.

Jan de Vries, chairman of CNV Education said in an interview, “The level of knowledge of students is under pressure…This affects our entire society.”

Verheggen told NOS that there is a discussion with the government about the education sector’s demands scheduled five days before the ultimatum deadline. “Let’s hope that brings something,” says Verheggen. “If not, we’ll go on strike.”

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