Netherlands: Widespread General Strike in Education


Today, on 15 March 2019,  FNV, FvOv, and ETUCE member organisation AOb organise the first general strike bringing together teachers, academics and other education personnel from primary, secondary, VET and higher education following the campaign week of 11 - 14 March in the Netherlands. Around 2500 schools in primary education and 35 schools in secondary education are expected to be closed that day. Furthermore, the action is to be supported by parent organisations.

Despite that education trade unions rang the alarm bell and have repeatedly warned the authorities about  the lack of investment in education leading to teacher shortages and declining education quality, the Government has only introduced makeshift measures, such as earlier distribution of the already allocated budget.

The lack of structural investment in education, salary freezes and budget cuts have resulted in a situation that needs to be addressed urgently. Whole school classes are sent home regularly and some schools only provide education on four days of a week. Teacher shortages are extensive. In higher education, the student- teacher ratio is far too high. And still, the Government is planning to cut the budgets for universities”, stated AOb.

Echoing AOb’s arguments for safeguarding education, the member of the ETUCE Committee resolutely supported its demands to the Government of the Netherlands to substantially increase public funding in education; more specifically to:

  • close the salary gap between primary and secondary education;
  • reduce the teaching week in secondary education to 20 lessons;
  • upgrade the salary position of teachers in VET and Higher Education;
  • provide career perspectives for teachers and other education personnel;
  • revoke the foreseen cuts in the budgets for universities.

Delegations from Germany and Belgium are to join the demonstration.

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