The Netherlands: Industrial action at primary education level – “I deserve more”


This morning, on 27 June 2017, as the first action, at least 90% of primary schools in the Netherlands started to function one hour later. Education personnel in primary education used the first working hour for meetings or administrative tasks that they normally have to perform in their non-teaching time. In the afternoon of the same day, all schools sent delegations to the Hague where a demonstration is taking place and the petition calling for decent salaries and to reduce the workload is to be handed over to the Dutch authorities.

Due to decentralisation, difficult political and economic context, as well as the lack of investment in education, the autonomy and status of the teaching profession in the Netherlands have substantially eroded over the last decades. As a result, teachers, especally young teachers, tend to leave the profession, and few people enter the profession. Schools in the Netherlands experience shortages of teachers and recruitment of unqualified teachers. Such trends put the quality of education at risk. To make teachers voice stronger education trade unions, employer organisations and school leaders formed the “PO-front

Liesbeth Verheggen, the AOb President, said “Our first general action is organised under the slogan #ikverdienmeer (“I deserve more”). It is supposed to be the start of bigger actions, if our government doesn’t offer improvements in salaries and workload”.

This industrial action is taking place in parallel with the ETUC’s campaign calling for a pay rise for workers across Europe. Last week, together with EPSU, ETUCE called for a strong media action to get the message across that it is time for our recovery, and that restoration of social dialogue and collective bargaining is crucial to tackle wealth and wage inequalities, and to deliver quality education for all.