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National teachers strike averted, as unions win 10% pay increase

Education workers employed by primary schools, secondary schools and schools for special education can expect to receive a pay increase of 10 percent. The deal was reached between employers and the education labor unions after intense negotiations, said labor union AOb on Tuesday afternoon.

Now that they have reached a collective labor agreement, a previously announced national education strike has been cancelled. Labor union members still have to vote on the deal, now that negotiations have been completed. The other union leaders involved in the talks also signalled their approval of the agreement.

The unions had demanded 12 percent to compensate for the high levels of inflation over the past year. Although they will receive slightly less, they will receive the pay raise retroactively to July 1 of this year.

The allowance for commuters will increase from 12 to 17 cents per kilometer. Teaching staff will also receive a one-time bonus payment in November. The amount varies from 1,000 euros gross for employees in the lower pay scales, to 350 euros for people in the highest scales.

AOb director Thijs Roovers called it “an excellent agreement.” He said, “the strike threat helped.” Before the summer holidays, the education unions announced jointly that they would stop working on October 5 in a strike meant to strengthen their demands. They no longer think that is necessary.

The CNV labor union’s education department also said it was happy with the results. “We think there is now a healthy wage increase, which is also in line with what has been agreed for the other education sectors this year. The lower scales also get some extras in the form of a higher one-off payment.”

Trade unions negotiate their collective agreements for education with the councils representing primary education and secondary education. These councils represent the employment sectors. What makes these types of negotiations complex is that schools are largely dependent on the government for their financing.

The sector organizations essentially agreed with the unions and in turn, asked the government for more money. The question remains whether they will get their way, or whether they will have to finance the wage increase in another manner.

Another point that was important to the negotiators is that attention should be paid to educational assistants who are working independently in classrooms due to the teacher shortage. The AOb is against this happening in principle, but if it is necessary, the support staff should receive fair payment for their work.

A first step is now being taken in this regard with the agreement that better policies will be drawn up for this group.

https://nltimes.nl/2023/09/12/national-teachers-strike-averted-unions-win-10-pay-increase National teachers strike averted, as unions win 10% pay increase

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