Teachers in primary and secondary education in the Netherlands will hold good on their promise of a national strike on November 6 if the government did not respond to their demand of 423.5 million euros to be invested in the education sector next year, reports NOS.
According to the national unions, they never responded to these demands when they were previously announced. They say they require this money to tackle the problems of teacher shortages, work pressure, and meagre salaries of the teachers.
What will happen during the teacher strike on November 6?
The teachers had held one other strike in the Netherlands on March 15 where they demonstrated at Malieveld where more than half of the primary schools in the Netherlands had to suspend classes. This time, they are hoping to raise awareness through social media. “On 15 March we were at the Malieveld as an AOb with 40,000 teachers and supporters. And now there is this distress signal from all unions and from employers. The minister really cannot ignore these signals,” says AOb chairman Liesbeth Verheggen.
They chose November 6 as this will be the day that the House of Representatives will be discussing the education sector budget for 2020. The education union AOb says, “you are probably familiar with the image: politicians looking at their phones during the debates. So we [will] ensure that our message appears there. We cannot be ignored if we have their attention at that time. Wednesday, November 6, is, therefore, the ultimate opportunity to influence the budget and get extra money for education.”
They will also be organising regional events where the teachers will come together to discuss the budget and the problems they’ve been having. You can find more information on this on AOb’s website.
Why does the education sector need 423.5 million euros?
The so-called emergency package was demanded so as to reduce workload, have the capacity to hire more teachers and provide decent wages for the teachers they already have.
Reducing workload in primary education
They say 241.5 million euros would go towards primary education where it will be utilized to reduce the workload of the teachers. According to AOb, the workload of the teachers are too harmful to them where they would rather work fewer hours. They also have older teachers quitting earlier than they would as the pressure is getting immense.
In regards to secondary education, they want around 91 million euros allocated for the same reason, where they will reduce 50 hours of lessons and improve the quality of education every child receives.
Better working conditions
They also would require around 91 million to improve the working conditions of staff in schools which are located in “disadvantaged areas”. The trade union and employers say, “these schools have a big motion to attract teachers. That poses a direct threat to the quality of education and leads to an even greater opportunity inequality of students.”
Bridging the pay gap between primary and secondary school teachers
They say they will require 185 million euros in 2020 so that teachers in both types of schools are paid comparable wages. This money would go to primary education again.
They also demand 16.5 million euros to improve the wages of teachers “in the diploma-oriented part of special education”.
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