Amsterdam schools will close for five days in December; more teacher strikes in January

In Amsterdam, sixteen primary schools will be closed for five days in the week of the 9th of December. And, following a one day strike at the beginning of this month, primary and secondary school teachers will strike again in January- this time for two days.

The two strikes are taking place for related, but different reasons. The primary school teachers in Amsterdam are striking to draw attention to an extreme shortage of staff. The general teachers’ strike in January will be to protest against a lack of long-term, sustained funding for education by the Dutch government.

Amsterdam schools missing twenty members of staff

In Amsterdam, the closure of these sixteen schools means that 4500 children will not be able to go to school for the week. All of the schools belong to the Western Garden Cities Foundation, which started the year with 13 teaching positions open, and currently is looking for twenty full time staff. The schools say they need this week to figure out how to deal with the staff shortage.

January general teachers’ strike

The general strike was announced by the teachers’ union AOb this morning following an internal survey of its 6000 members, 90 percent of which indicated that they wanted to strike again. The strike is taking place because teachers feel that structural funding for education from the government is absent.

Teachers want long term funding

It is as yet unclear whether other teachers’ unions will join the strike, which will take place on the 30th and 31st of January. AOb Chairman Stolk says he hopes they will join, as took place last time, on the 6th of November. The reason for the strike is the same as last time: the government’s offer of a one-time grant of 460 million euros is not acceptable to the teachers, who want long term and continual increased funding for the sector.

Confusion around previous strike

The last strike took place amidst considerable confusion, as AOb called off the strike only the day before. The union initially wanted to accept the offer of 460 million euros, but most of its members wanted the strike to go ahead- which it eventually did. Over 3500 schools closed on the 6th of November.

Education minister: considerable money already earmarked for education

Minister Slob has said that while everyone is entitled to express their views and strike if they want to, teachers should bear in mind that substantial money has been made available by the government for salary increases and reducing work pressure.

The Netherlands and protests

The Netherlands has been bubbling over with protests recently, with farmers, builders, anti- and pro-Zwarte Piet people and teachers expressing their dissatisfaction with the government. Today, farmers and builders lined motorways with their tractors, in order to put pressure on the government to accept their proposal for mitigating the nitrogen crisis.

What are your thoughts on these strikes? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature image: Gosse Bouma/Supplied. 

Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.


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