- Category: News
- Created on Friday, 27 January 2012 08:20
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
Almost 200 schools across the country have either closed for the day or cut back their teaching hours as teaching and support staff walked out on strike.
The General Union of Education (Algemene Onderwijsbond) said the day of action was the first in a series of planned protests against proposals to increase their basic working hours and cut the summer holiday from seven weeks to six for no extra pay.
Politicians on the government side denounced the action as “ridiculous” and insisted the centre-right coalition would not be pressed into changing its reform programme.
The AOB said 21,000 teachers and support staff had announced they planned to go on strike, but observers in Utrecht said between 10,000 and 12,000 were at the event.
Education minister Marja van Bijsterveldt said it was irresponsible for teachers to strike during an exam week. She said: “Right now there is a need for calm, stability and structure. Every lesson counts. I’m more in favour of working than striking.”
Ton Elias, of the governing Liberal (VVD) party, said teachers should look critically at the quality of education they were offering.
“People should go on strike for things that really matter, not for cutting holiday time from 12 weeks to 11.”
Bart Funnekotter, of news website nrc.next, said the protest was the culmination of 20 years of frustration. He said: “They’ve had enough: All the decrees from The Hague, interference from managers, savage cuts and education reform.
“They feel they’re not being taken seriously as professionals and haven’t been for 20 years.”