Teachers furious over "political games" around their wage increases
The VVD and PvdA's squabble over increasing teachers' salaries in the budget for next year, has the teachers themselves furious. According to primary school teacher action group PO in Actie, the parties are playing "political games" with their livelihoods and more protest actions will follow this fall, Thijs Roovers of the group said to RTL Nieuws.
The argument between the departing cabinet parties is about the budget for 2018. As there is no new government yet, it is up to the departing government to prepare the budget for Budget Day next month. According to RTL, it is customary for a departing cabinet to make an "off the shelf" budget with no new plans.
But in June PvdA leader and deputy prime minister Lodewijk Asscher announced that he will not sign a budget that does not include salary increases for teachers. That threat did not sit well with the VVD. "We worked very well together for four years, but this does disappoint me a bit", Mark Rutte said, according to RTL. VVD leader Halbe Zijlstra said to the Telegraaf that Asscher shot himself in the foot with that statement. "He might have been able to arrange that, but then he should've kept his mouth shut", Zijlstra said.
According to Roovers, this showoff between the VVD and PvdA is scandalous. "This should not be about party politics, but about content: the quality of education", he said to RTL Nieuws. "This is at the level of 'I'll like your drawing, if you like mine', as we say in primary school. We expect more from our representatives."
In June thousands of primary school teachers went on strike for the first hour of the school day in protest against the level of their salaries. According to Roovers, PO in Actie - a group of about 43 thousand primary school teachers - is currently planning a new nationwide action. What exactly this action will be is not yet clear, but it will be more "intense" than the one in June. PO in Actie plans to announce the action in the first week of September.
"Zijlstra's remarks again prove that it's important to make our voice heard", Roovers said to the broadcaster. "We don't want to wait on the plans of a new cabinet, we saw too little movement over the past months."