During the opening of the academic year, action groups Casual Academy and 0.7 announced that something would happen if universities did not meet their demands before Christmas. The trade union FNV Education and the General Education Union supported that intention and action group WOinAction has now also backed the ultimatum.
There are three demands on the table. The activists want fewer temporary contracts. They demand that the flexible shell at the universities be reduced to less than 20 per cent and that all academic staff be given both teaching and research time.
‘We are not asking the impossible’
They also want to put an end to the “structural overburdening” by cutting one third of the tasks. Thirdly, they demand a “safe work environment’ in which there is no room for undesirable behaviour.
Much will depend on whether universities will receive an additional 1.1 billion euros annually from the next Dutch government. Research commissioned by outgoing Minister Van Engelshoven has shown that universities lack this amount in their budgets, with all the consequences this has for the workload and the legal position of scientists.
News website Ad Valvas asked Leiden professor Remco Breuker of WOinAction whether an ultimatum on 20 December is not a bit short notice. According to him, the problem has been known for years. “And we’re not asking the impossible: if you exempt me and a few others, we’ll have this sorted out tomorrow.”
If there is no concrete plan that meets the demands of the action groups, a national action will follow on Valentine’s Day (14 February), with the motto: university love is not mutual.
HOP, Josefine van Enk