Last year, the pay rise at universities was 4 per cent. “Of course, that adjustment evaporated due to the skyrocketing inflation last year,” said Jan Boersma, director of FNV Education and Research. This year, FNV and the other education unions are therefore asking for 14.3 per cent rise, equal to the inflation rate reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) last October. Salaries should also increase automatically with rising prices every year.

The above is stated in the joint statement of unions FNV, AOb, CNV and FBZ, which was presented to the employers on Tuesday afternoon. FNV and AOb, together with action groups Casual Academy, WOinActie, PNN, Postdocnl and 0.7, also handed over a petition against temporary contracts that was signed 1,400 times.

Temporary contracts

“Universities are trying to be cheap and have been exploiting the loyalty and intrinsic drive of their employees for years”, Boersma continued.

Temporary contracts with poor conditions make life harder for researchers and lecturers. The unions want universities to offer less of such employment contracts. Among lecturers without research duties, the number of temporary contracts should drop from 80 to 15 per cent. They should be able to get permanent employment after a year. With this, the unions want to get rid of the situation where you do structural work on temporary contracts for four years.

Work pressure

Moreover, to prevent staff from dropping out, the pressure of work must be reduced. Among lecturers, this can be done, for example, by agreeing better standards on the amount of teaching commitments and on how many lecturers a programme should employ.

“Support staff and researchers should be given more realistic task assignments and publication demands should be reduced,” Boersma explains.

The commitment further includes guidelines on matters of diversity and inclusion. These include calls for transgender leave and leave for women in menopause. There should also be a national ombuds hotline for people who are afraid to report to an ombudsperson at their own institution.

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