Up to 50,000 teachers from all over the country made their way to the capital yesterday afternoon and assembled in front of the parliament building, Christiansborg, to voice their opinions on the continuing teacher lockout.
The teachers met up in force to convey their displeasure with the government’s desire to annul the teachers’ current collective bargaining agreement in favour of an arrangement which would see them spend more time teaching in schools rather than preparing for future lessons
Anders Bondo Christensen, the head negotiator for the teachers’ union, Danmarks Lærerforening (DLF), and Dennis Kristensen, the head of FOA Union, both spoke to the giant crowd.
“I wasn’t the easiest student in upper-secondary school, but my teacher made a tremendous effort. Both parties have the right to an employment conflict and the government must let the parties negotiate themselves. But have they done that?” Kristensen asked the crowd.
Following a booming ”No!” from the masses, Kristensen continued, directly attacking the finance minister, Bjarne Corydon (Socialdemokraterne), for meddling in the negotiation process.
“Corydon has stood in the background with his muscles flexed, ready to step in if the councils [local government association KL] can't handle things. [It is] an unprecedented attack on the Danish model,” Kristensen said. “They were in the negotiation chambers before the two parties even arrived and that’s a not fair negotiation, that’s match fixing.”
Kristensen then left the podium to Bondo Christensen who received long and rousing applause from the teachers for his efforts in the negotiations.
“We believe in democracy and conversation, the politicians have no idea what they are jeopardisng and we must take joint responsibility. We are tired of this technocratic regime, we want democracy back,” Bondo Christensen said, turning towards Christianborg. “And if you can’t understand that, then we will throw you out!”
Weather conditions were poor, but there was no stopping teachers from around the country taking buses and trains to Copenhagen in order to show their support.
”I am here to show that I mean business. We must be allowed to come back and teach,” Tanya Krogh, a locked-out teacher at Arden School in northern Jutland, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
Many of the teachers were surprised at the number of people who had travelled to the demonstration and the large turnout provided them with some optimism.
”By being very visible in front of Christiansborg, we may be able to change something,” Andy Leth, a teacher from Parkvejens School in eastern Jutland, told Jyllands-Posten.
About 69,000 teachers have been prevented from showing up to work since negotiations between DL and KL collapsed on April 2, affecting 900,000 children and adults who were taught by the teachers.