Code Red is there to stay: new strike in primary education in the Netherlands


Today, on 12 December 2017, the PO front organises a strike to protest against the state budget cuts in the education sector.

The amount allocated for primary education in next year’s State budget proves to contain a sum of 270 million € to increase teachers’ salaries. However, this amounts to only a fraction of the 1.4 billion € necessary to catch up with salaries of teachers in other sectors.

According to AOb, 270 million € had been allocated by the former cabinet to the primary education sector in the State budget plan for 2018 on 15 September 2017. This sum was linked to the unions’ approval on issues such as reductions in teachers’ unemployment benefits. Apart from that, the new cabinet which was formed on 26 October 2017 added a budget of 430 million € to reduce the workload which would only be made available in 2021, when teacher shortages are already a reality.

On 7 November 2017, the PO front delivered its ultimatum to the cabinet via Mr. Arie Slob to anwser its question about how the government would release 1.4 billion € - 900 million € to raise salaries in primary education and 500 million € to reduce the workload by the week of 5 December 2017 at the latest.

Meeting the education trade unions in the primary education sector on 29 November 2017, Mr. Arie Slob, the new Minister of Education, himself a former teacher, said “I understand your worries, but I have no money.”

Thus, the call for a new strike on 12 December 2017 was launched.

Already on 5 October 2017, the Primary Education teachers in the Netherlands had organised a strike on the occasion of World Teachers’ Day. It proved to be one of the most successful strikes in the country when it comes to numbers of participants.

Despite the bad weather conditions, around 60.000 people made their way to the demonstration, creating an enormous traffic chaos in and around the Hague. About 10.000 other participants registered from home. More than 90% of all primary schools were closed for the day.

As reported by AOb, the number of participants is increasing every hour.