In mid-May, the House of Representatives agreed with an amendment that employee participation must be able (in Dutch) to reject ‘testing for access’ in higher education. Now, half a year later, it seems that the draft resolution regarding the implementation of the coronavirus entry pass in the same higher education sector suggests that the caretaker Cabinet will not consider employee participation in this decision.
That doesn’t seem right. The National Consultation University Participation (LOVUM) sent a letter to the House of Representatives to object. “We are surprised that the Cabinet is acting against the express wish of the House for employee participation consent to be an integral part of the decision to make showing proof for access to in-person education mandatory,” stated the letter (in Dutch).
A closer look
Although the TU Delft Works Council supported this LOVUM-letter of last week, the situation is more nuanced upon closer examination according to Works Council chair Menno Blaauw. “The latest proposed resolution concerning the coronavirus entry pass concerns a national policy. The Executive Board of an individual university does not have any authority over that. Then it is not self-evident to give employee participation a say,” he explained.
‘The Executive Board has no authority over this’
“Although it is never pleasant to lose one’s right of consent, it seems in this case to be rather a fix of a quirk in the legislation than an actual violation of our rights. We have employee participation as soon as the TU Delft executive board has a say. And that is not the case here.”
Employee participation is part of authority, that sounds logical. But is it perhaps also not somewhat of a relief that the Works Council will probably not have to pass judgement on such a complex and controversial topic as the coronavirus entry pass? Blaauw dismissed that suggestion. “Of course it isn’t easy to take a stand on this – the Works Council is just as divided in how it thinks about it as society is. But that is not a reason to avoid the discussion about it. And we could look at it another way: precisely because the Works Council members have differing opinions, we would be a good partner for advice for the discussion. But that does not seem to be possible at the moment.”