News - December 16, 2010

Conflict between VHL directors and employees' council

The directors and employees' council will be bringing in a mediator. The Executive Board says, 'We need to break this deadlock quickly.'

The Van Hall Larenstein directors and employees' council are going to try and restore their damaged relationship under the guidance of a mediator. That is the outcome of discussions between the two parties and the Chairman of the Executive Board, Aalt Dijkhuizen, on Friday, 10 December.
Earlier that week the VHL directors had told the employees' council that they would be suspending the regular meetings for the time being. The directors had been irritated by the wording in some letters sent by the employees' council regarding the corporate levy and the plans to start an animal management degree programme in Wageningen. The Larenstein employees' council reacted with dismay to the directors' decision. Chairman Dennis de Jager told Resource that the directors 'have no feeling for the University of Applied Sciences'.
However, Hans Bezuijen, chairman of the joint employees' council, says that there has been a rapprochement between the two parties since the talk with Dijkhuizen.  'As a sign of our goodwill, we have agreed to cooperate with the directors' wish to hold talks with a mediator', explains Bezuijen. He does emphasize the importance of the substantive issues on the table, however. Moreover, he feels the regular meetings should be continued. 'The employees' council thinks it is irresponsible and unnecessary to suspend the meetings. We also have two reorganizations taking place.'
Bezuijen says there is no question of any difference of opinion between the employees' council for Velp and Wageningen and the council for Leeuwarden. 'We are very much in agreement.' Bezuijen does distance himself from the criticism made by De Jager, though. Bezuijen: 'We have to operate more carefully now. It's easy for an individual employee to make a bold statement when chatting in the corridor but other rules apply when you want to keep consultations going.'
The Executive Board has said that it is pleased the employees' council is distancing itself from the sharp criticism expressed. 'We need to get down to work as soon as possible in January to break the deadlock. There's a lot of things on the agenda and we need to go full speed ahead', says spokesperson Simon Vink.