Teachers to get 4.5% pay bump in new contract; January strike will continue as planned

Teacher strike announcement at an Amsterdam school, 5 November 2019
Teacher strike announcement at an Amsterdam school, 5 November 2019Photo: NL Times

After a year of difficult negotiations, a collective bargaining agreement was reached for primary education. The trade unions and employers agreed on a 4.5 percent wage increase for all teaching staff. They will also receive a once-off payment of 33 percent of their monthly wage and a once-off amount of 875 euros, education union AOb announced.

The agreement does not mean that the planned teacher strike on January 30 and 31 is off the table, unions AOb and CNV said. The strike will continue as planned. "We made this agreement because there is money waiting, that has to go to the teaching staff. But structural money is still needed, and that's why we are going to strike," the unions said to NOS.

Minister Arie Slob for Primary and Secondary Education previously promised 285 million euros structurally and a once-off amount of 150 million euros for primary education, provided that a collective bargaining agreement is reached. That money was used for the wage increase and once-off amounts. 

The wage increase and once-off amounts apply to all teaching staff in primary education - teachers, school leaders, teaching assistants, and other teaching support staff like speech therapists and caretakers. The collective bargaining agreement takes effect on January 1st, and will run until November 2020. 

The agreement also stipulates that there will be a better balance in salaries within primary education - the functions and salary scales of school principals and educational support staff will be adjusted so that they can earn more. This already happened for teachers in the previous agreement. 

The employers and unions stated that they realize that the new agreement does not solve the wage gap between primary and secondary education. "All parties will therefore continue to press the government for structural investments", they said, according to NOS.