Around 50,000 teachers demonstrated in the Amsterdam Arena on Tuesday in protest at government plans to cut the education budget.
Teaching unions laid on buses to ferry 23,000 strikers to the location, but thousands more made their own way to Amsterdam, mainly by train, according to press reports.
Teaching staff are particularly angry about education minister Marja van Bijsterveldt’s plan to cut €300m from the €3.7bn budget for special needs education.
The strike is also against her intention to increase their working hours and freeze their salaries.
Talking of the cuts to special education, AOb union chairman Walter Dresscher told the meeting cuts are unnecessary. ‘There are enough alternatives for saving money,’ he said.
According to Michel Rog of the CNV teaching union, every child has the right to a good education. ‘We must take care of our education and not make cuts,’ he said.
There were no politicians among the speakers. Van Bijsterveldt said she would attend but when she was told she would not be allowed to speak, she decided to use the time in preparation for the forthcoming education debate in parliament.
Socialist party leader Emile Roemer was spotted among the striking teachers and opposition MPs showed their support on Twitter. ‘The cabinet is taking opportunity away from children, leaving parents without rights and making teachers desperate,’ tweeted Labour MP Hans Spekman.
Around 2,000 schools were closed on Tuesday because of the industrial action.
Five questions about the teachers’ strike