After several vocal protest actions and strikes the situation in primary education has not yet improved in the Netherlands. As a consequence, another regional strike, the fifth in row, is taking place today on 12 September 2018 in the South West region of the Netherlands as announced by AOb.

 

The union anticipates the closure of nearly all primary schools. Thousands of teachers and other education personnel intend to demonstrate in Rotterdam asking, together with school leaders and education support personnel, for higher salaries and a lower workload.

Long and complex negotiations before summer resulted in a collective agreement that foresees a salary raise of 2,5 percent and a small bonus fee. “Despite the fact that teachers that have not been intended to leave the profession are happy to receive a slightly higher salary, it is no more than a compensation for many other increased costs, and no solution for the enormous teacher shortage that is taking its toll after the summer break”, stressed AOb.

In particular, schools situated in the more urban regions keep daily school life going by temporary solutions and makeshift measures. A shortage of teaching assistants is now emerging. Moreover, AOb reports about dubious practices such as an emergence of recruitment bureaus that “buy” teachers away from schools and then offer schools services in finding new teachers while requesting a huge fee.

The “PO front” that reunites several unions in educations as well as the employers’ organisation, asks for structural solutions to guarantee the quality of education for the future. The strike takes place just ahead of the yearly Parliamentary Session where the Budget for the next year is to be discussed. “If no higher budget for education is announced, the actions are to be scaled up, possibly extended to the whole public sector, where similar problems exist”, concluded the union.

Wishing AOb and the strike participants the best of success, Susan Flocken, ETUCE European Director, stated "ETUCE supports AOb and affiliates in their demands for a decent pay rise and the alleviation of teachers' workload. Decent working conditions for teachers together with free public education are the foundation for quality education. They help preventing teacher shortages and are a sign for the respect and value given to the teaching profession".