Teachers to strike over educator shortages, school closures

Amsterdam primary school closed for a nationwide teacher strike, 15 March 2019
Amsterdam primary school closed for a nationwide teacher strike, 15 March 2019Photo: NL Times

Teachers in primary- and secondary education announced another national strike. If the government does not respond to their demand to allocate 423.5 million euros extra to education, they will strike on Wednesday, November 6th, NOS reports.

According to the education unions, the government has made it clear that it does not want to invest in education. And that while classes are sent home every day because there are not enough teachers. On Thursday, an Amsterdam primary school announced that it has to close due to the teacher shortage

"The children suffer if they do not get the attention they deserve", Liesbeth Verheggen of education union AOb said to the broadcaster. Jan de Vries of CNV added: "The level of students' knowledge is under pressure. This affects our entire society."

The trade unions and employers submitted the joint demand of 423.5 million euros to the government in July. According to the education sector, this amount will be needed next year to increase salary, reduce workload, and deal with the teacher shortage. 

During the budget debate last week, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that he is prepared to set aside an extra once-off amount to combat the teacher shortage in primary schools. But he did not mention any amounts, and he attached the condition that employers and employees in primary education must first conclude a collective bargaining agreement. 

Earlier this month, Minister Arie Slob for Primary and Secondary Education promised a structural 285 million euros to improve working conditions in primary education. He too hung the collective bargaining agreement over the extra money. 

The unions gave the government an ultimatum to meet their demands by October 20th. If their demands are not met, primary- and secondary school teachers will strike on November 6th. 

Teachers in the Netherlands also held a nationwide strike in March, also for higher salaries and lower workloads. Lecturers in higher education also participated in that strike.