Education unions are campaigning throughout the Netherlands
Handed over to the cheers of protesting teachers AObchief executive Kim van Strien presented an empty shopping bag to Dennis Wiersma this afternoon in The Hague. Shortly before, the education minister had already received a chest-high scroll with protest signatures, which education unions have collected from the staff.
The 16 signatures prove that teachers in the Netherlands do not intend to accept that the government does not want to release money for a full inflation correction in teaching salaries. At the same time as the action in The Hague, there were protests today in Groningen, Zwolle, Maastricht and Amsterdam. Those actions only started at the end of the afternoon, to spare the final exams.
With actions the teachers' unions have strengthened their demand of at least a 12 percent wage increase in primary and secondary education. If the cabinet does not make the money available for this, strikes will follow in September, they warned AObdirectors Jelmer Evers (secondary education) and Thijs Roovers (primary education) already this morning.
"I understand you're standing here. Because you also walk into the supermarket and see everything getting more expensive. Thanks for these signatures, I heard the call'
According to Van Strien, the empty shopping bag that Wiersma received on the steps in front of the entrance to Segbroek College in The Hague typifies how teachers will soon leave the supermarket if the cabinet continues on this path. “I understand that you are standing here”, Wiersma had said just before. “Because you also walk into the supermarket and see everything become more expensive.” The minister made no commitments, but promised that he would take the unions' request to the cabinet. "Thanks for these signatures, I heard the call."
In the absence of the rector, geography teacher Martin Bakker welcomed delegates from all levels of education to The Hague this afternoon. After all, the demand for a 12 percent wage increase is supported by the education unions FNV, CNV and FvOv. The employers have also joined the action, because they too believe that there is insufficient money available from The Hague to make a good wage offer for teaching staff.
Chairmen Freddy Weima of the PO council and Henk Hagoort of the VO council both speak on stage. “It takes some getting used to here between the green vests,” says Hagoort. “But the cabinet puts us in an impossible position. I call on the minister to adjust the reference projection upwards. As long as that doesn't happen, I will stay here between the green vests and maybe I'll put on another one later."
AObdirector Van Strien promises that she will bring a green vest for employers on the next day of action and concludes with a warning: "If we don't get that 12 percent, I'll see you all again in September."
Shortly before the event, geography teacher Bakker says that Segbroek College is also suffering from the 'enormous' shortage of teachers. “We were unable to fill all the vacancies for Dutch and Mathematics. As current teachers, we have to make up for that shortage and that makes the profession more difficult.”
'We were unable to fill all the vacancies for Dutch and Mathematics. As current teachers, we have to make up for that shortage and that makes the profession more difficult'
Bakker does not understand why other public sectors receive an additional 10 to 12 percent, but not education. Although he doesn't see young colleagues at school having acute money problems, “but they don't get around to building a future, a life with their partner. A rental property is also hard to find here in The Hague.”
To illustrate the seriousness of the situation, Bakker says that last week he saw a bag used by Über Eats bicycle delivery drivers in the teachers' bicycle shed. Perhaps one of the teachers has a job on the side, he speculates. “And otherwise that bag must belong to one of our trainees, because we know that about them anyway they can't get by of what they earn in education.”
More information can be found at the action page.