Inflation was unprecedentedly high last year: 10 percent. So in the collective labour negotiations, the education unions are asking for a hefty pay rise, and the employers understand. But will the schools, colleges and universities get enough money for that?
Employers fear that the government is not providing enough budget for pay rises. They have written a joint letter to the two education ministers and the finance minister.
In principle, the government increases education funding every year because of inflation and rising wages. But the administrators fear that the Cabinet is blinded by low estimates from the Central Planning Bureau.
According to those CPB estimates, wages would actually only have to rise by 5.2 percent, much lower than inflation. The education employers do not think the government should simply adopt that percentage.
In other sectors, wages rise by around 10 percent, the employers write, so the same should happen in education. If they don’t get enough money, they say, they will face a ‘diabolical dilemma’. The Cabinet should not expect them to structurally increase wages “at the expense of the quality of education and research”.
The government may deviate from the CPB estimates. From 2010, for instance, education remained on the zero line for a few years: no money was added for salaries, which all in all meant a 17 percent cut. Now the employers hope that the cabinet will now allocate extra money instead.
At the end of May, employers will hear how much wage space the ministers are giving. Until then, the collective labour negotiation is likely to be deadlocked. The unions are demanding a 14 percent wage hike.