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Denmark's teachers' strike in fourth week

  |   April 24, 2013 at 11:39 AM
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, April 24 (UPI) -- Teachers in Denmark have been off the job for about four weeks, preventing about 875,000 school children ages 6 to 16 from attending classes, officials said.

The impasse between the union and local government officials over work conditions has affected about 69,000 teachers since talks broke down April 1, EUobserver.com reported Wednesday.

Martin Moos, chief executive officer at ColorClub, a digital photo company, and father of a 9-year-old boy, said the first week of the strike was a "nice vacation" for the students that turned into a "big hassle for everybody."

Moos said ColorClub, employees "take turns bringing their children to work, leaving early and coming in late."

Older students face exams May 2 having missed a month of preparation in school.

Teachers aren't getting paid, but the Danish Teachers' Union has a strike fund from which teachers may borrow money at a low interest rate, a union official said.

At issue is the length of time teachers should work, EUObserver reported.

Kommunernes Landsforening, representing municipalities that employ the teachers, wants school principals to have the flexibility to decide how much time a teacher spends teaching and on other education-associated duties.

Teachers are concerned that such a time-management plan would undermine the quality of their teaching, a union official said.

"In no other country in Europe, are there no limits on teachers' hours," says Dorte Lange, deputy head of the teachers' union.

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