50,000 teachers demonstrate in The Hague for better pay

Photo: Dingena Mol / Hollandse Hoogte

At least 50,000 primary school teachers gathered in the Zuiderpark in The Hague on Thursday to demonstrate in support of their campaign for more pay and better working conditions.

The organisers had expected some 30,000 people to turn up as teachers at some 7,000 primary schools went on strike.

Campaigners are calling for €1.4bn in extra spending – €900m to boost teachers’ pay and €500m to reduce their workload. In total, some 7,000 schools were affected by the all-day strike.

On Wednesday RTL and the Telegraaf said the new government has earmarked an extra €500m for spending on primary schools, on top of the €270m already agreed, but this does not go far enough for teaching unions.

Meanwhile, research published by Trouw on Thursday shows that many teachers who have left the profession are prepared to return, if salaries are improved and the workload is cut.

An estimated 31,000 people have a primary school teaching certificate (pabo) but have left the education system. But two thirds of 561 people in the survey said they would be certain, or likely, to return to teaching if working conditions and pay improved.