Danish government steps in to end teacher lock-out

Denmark's government on Thursday moved to end a bitter month-long dispute with teachers over working hours that has left 800,000 pupils out of classes.

"We have reached a point at which the government finds it necessary to intervene," Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt told reporters at a news conference.

Education Minister Christine Antorini said 300 million kroner (40.2 million euros, $52.6 million) would be earmarked for increases in teacher salaries.

She added that a special provision giving teachers over the age of 60 favourable hours would also be scrapped.

The government measures are expected to pass through parliament in time for teachers to resume classes on Monday.

Some 50,000 secondary and vocational school teachers have been on strike since April 1 when negotiations between their union and local governments on new working schedules broke down and arbitration failed to produce a compromise settlement.

"There have been no real negotiations between the parties for quite some time and there is no indication that things will change in the near future," Thorning-Schmidt said.

Precise details of the emergency measures to be introduced in parliament on Thursday weren't immediately clear, but were expected to contain new rules to bring teachers' working hours in line with other public servants.

Thorning-Schmidt said final exams for upper secondary school pupils, which were scheduled to begin Thursday next week, have been postponed until mid-May.