Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has no plans to intervene in the
conflict between the country’s primary and lower secondary school teachers
and Local Government Denmark that has resulted in some 60,000 teachers being
locked out as of Tuesday.
“It would be wrong to begin speaking of intervention. We must let it run its
course,” Thorning-Schmidt said during her weekly news conference, adding
that the conflict currently under way is an expression of the Danish model
in which the various parties resolve conflicts themselves.
“Lockouts and strikes are used to solve conflicts on the Danish labour market.
That is how the Danish model functions and should function. I hope, of
course that a solution can be found and I am sure that would be to
everyone’s benefit,” the prime minister said.
As of this morning, some 60,000 primary and lower secondary school teachers
have been locked out, leaving some 875,000 pupils without classes. Older
pupils who are due for exams before the summer would not be penalised, the
prime minister said, adding that solutions would be put in place depending
on the length of the lockout.
“I know that the lockout puts a lot of families in a difficult situation. Many
have to take extra days off, or have their children looked after by friends
and family. IT is a strange situation for teachers too as they are not able
to teach the children they follow with such fervour. I would have preferred
this conflict to have been avoided,” Thorning-Schmidt said.
But while Thorning-Schmidt was unwilling to say whether her government’s plans
for a school reform also included longer working hours for teachers, she was
adamant there was need for a reform that, among other things, gave pupils
more class hours.
“Our children need a school in which they learn more. We cannot accept that an
average of three or four children in each class never learn to write at a
level that enables them to go on to further education. We need all children
to be given a boost, not least in Danish and mathematics,” she said.
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