Quieter rush hour due to primary school teacher strike

Primary schools teachers across the Netherlands are striking this morning. Almost all primary schools in the country will open at 9:30 a.m., instead of 8:30 a.m. One positive side effect to this strike, is that traffic information service VID expects less traffic on the road during rush hour this morning.

With schools starting an hour later, most parents with primary school aged children will also have to leave for work an hour later than usual. "Traffic is spreading better", VID said, according to RTL Nieuws. "But do not expect miracles. Not everyone has school-age children." As long as there are no accidents, VID expects between 100 and 120 kilometers of traffic jams this morning, compared to the usual between 150 and 200 kilometers. 

The teachers in primary education are striking for higher salaries and a lighter workload. They are dissatisfied that their salaries are on average less than that of their colleagues in secondary education. The hour long strike was organized by PO-front - a collaboration of action group POinactie with education unions, school leaders and directors. 

The doors of most of the 7 thousand primary schools in the Netherlands will remain closed at 7:30 a.m. A few schools organized a separate program, according to NOS. For example, the Goede Herder school in Bodegraven will open its doors, and the parents will be responsible for the first hour of lessons. And at De Triangel in Hengelo, kids are expected to arrive on time. Instead of lessons, however, they will spend the first hour of their school day picking up trash in the neighborhood.

On Tuesday afternoon teachers and parents will gather on the Malieveld in The Hague to witness a petition with the teachers' demands being handed over. By Friday almost 300 thousand people signed the petition, the final count will be announced this afternoon. Between 5 thousand and 10 thousand people are expected at Malieveld, according to the broadcaster.

The petition will be given to GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver, SP leader Emile Roemer and PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher. These three parties will almost definitely be part of the opposition once a new government is formed. The teachers wanted to give the petition to the four parties negotiating forming a government together - VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie - but they refused to accept it, according to NOS. 

On Monday Education Minister Jet Bussemaker and State Secretary Sander Dekker announced that primary school teachers can't get a pay raise because the Ministry can't afford it.