EUROPA, the local union consultation for Erasmus University, has organized a lunch meeting at noon on working hours in the hall of the Sanders building. Law sociologist Roel Pieterman, President of EUROPA: “Working pressure is of course closely related to the requirements of WOinActie. More money or fewer tasks, as we advocate with WOinActie, is undoubtedly a solution for part of the work pressure problem.”

“A lot is being done to tackle work pressure at Erasmus University”, says Pieterman, who, in addition to EUROPA, is also chairman of the national Academic Union (VAWO). “There is a detailed plan produced by the Executive Board, but not everyone knows about it or is aware of the details.” During the lunch meeting, he hopes to focus on a discussion between EUR employees about work pressure. “I would like to know what they see as the problems and solutions and what they could do about it themselves, because work pressure is a problem for the entire organization. You cannot only let others solve that.”

Debate with the minister


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Rotterdam academics give open air lectures for #WOinActie

Academics in Rotterdam want to draw attention to work pressure and protest against cuts…

Alessandra Arcuri, full professor of Inclusive Global Law and Governance, was the driving force behind the action week of WOinActie on the Woudestein campus in September. At the end of September, lecturers gave open-air lectures to draw attention to work pressure and cutbacks in higher education.

Although this week has again been declared an action week, she stresses that ‘the focus this time is more on the demonstration on Friday and a debate with the minister’. On Thursday, 14 March, three scientists will debate with Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven about money flows, work pressure and competition in higher education. Arcuri is planning to give her lectures in the open air and to demonstrate in The Hague on Friday, just like Roel Pieterman. “With my children, because it is also POinActie.”

‘Public opinion is shifting’

The requirements of WOinActie are still the same as in the previous actions: the requirements of last year – extra investments and the abolition of budget cuts have not been agreed. Yet Arcuri thinks that something has changed: “The underlying problem is that the role of public education and independent academic research is generally underappreciated. Contemporary democracies thrive on independent academic research. It is no coincidence that academics (and journalists) are targeted by authoritarian regimes, just think of what is happening in Turkey and Hungary. It is good to see there is more discussion about the importance of independent research and public education since the beginning of WOinActie and POinActie. Public opinion is shifting, a social movement has born and is growing. Let’s stay hopeful and combative: WOinActie will eventually lead to more investments in public education if we all join the battle.”

Students and employees are being given the opportunity to take part in the education demonstration in The Hague on Friday 15 March. “Teachers who do not want to cancel their lecture have to let their students know”, says a spokesperson for the university. Support staff also have the choice to strike. Planned exams will be held as usual.