The umbrella organisation Universities of the Netherlands and the employees’ organisations reached a negotiation settlement on the 2022 Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) on 12 May. As part of this, a joint study is to be initiated to work out how the position of teaching staff can be improved in the next collective labour agreement term. Geert ten Dam, President of the UvA’s Executive Board: ‘We’re eager to improve the position of teaching staff now rather than await this study. We want to set a new policy for teaching staff that strikes a better balance between temporary and permanent appointments and ensures a realistic workload and scope for development. This is urgently needed, and lecturers deserve a solution in de short term.’
Friday, 13 May saw the new lecturer policy back on the agenda of the tripartite consultation between the Executive Board and representatives of the University Local Consultative Committee (UCLO) and the Central Works Council (COR). ‘We’re close to reaching an agreement and are actually hoping to be in a position to discuss the final details in our next meeting on 31 May’, explains Gerwin van der Pol on behalf of the Central Works Council.
‘The UvA’s new policy will need to bolster the position of teaching staff, recognising the essential contribution they make to the education at our university. We need to do such things as increase job security, ensure the appointment fits the employee’s tasks and provide more career prospects for both junior and experienced lecturers’, says Marjolein Hogenbirk from the University Local Consultative Committee.
Aspects of the new policy
Although most university lecturers are on a permanent contract, this is uncommon among teaching staff. Furthermore, lecturers in the Lecturer 4 (D4) category in particular tend to be on relatively short-term contracts. That needs to change, according to the new policy:
- The new policy stipulates that lecturers will henceforth be appointed as 0.8-1.0 FTE (remit permitting), unless they themselves express a preference for a contract for fewer hours.
- In order to bolster job security and the quality of the education, the starting point for the D4 entry-level appointment will be one long-term temporary contract for four years. This resembles the temporary appointment of a PhD student. Set components of the D4 entry-level appointment are time dedicated to professional development and career guidance. A permanent contract is the starting point for Lecturer 3 (D3). If D4s are assigned tasks that befit the D3 remit on a permanent basis, they will progress to D3. Hence, a greater number of lecturers will become eligible for a permanent contract.
- The new policy will also include a transition scheme, with additional attention being devoted to the group of current lecturers whose assigned tasks do not match their grade.
Finalisation by the summer
In view of the urgency and the advanced stage of the policy development, the UvA has decided to stick to its intention to complete the new teaching staff policy by the summer. Efforts will be directed towards finalising the teaching staff policy in the next tripartite consultation on 31 May, after which we will continue down the usual administrative route.