News - January 14, 2016

Reorganization of Imares causes friction

Albert Sikkema

The reorganization of Imares from 1 January is a source of discontent among staff. Their confidence in the management is currently ‘minimal’, says the staff council of the marine institute.

The presentation of the new thematic teams, on 11 January in Den Helder. Photo Bert Brinkman

The reason for the reorganization is the fall in research assignments. The institute, which now has about 160 members of staff, is abandoning its departmental structure. Five department heads will have to look for new jobs. There are going to be about 30 thematic teams, in which researchers are given more responsibility for acquiring research assignments themselves.

In order to cope with financial shortfalls, a maximum of 17 jobs will have to be axed. Most of the candidates for a change of job are researchers. Five fish farming researchers will also be transferred from Imares to Livestock Research in Wageningen.

The organization should ultimately provide clarity about the different branches of Imares. A regional station in Yerseke will remain, with 14 staff members. When vacancies arise newcomers will be stationed in Den Helder, in the new branch in the former maritime academy. This principle caused a lot of unease among staff in IJmuiden, who are afraid their branch will close in the long run. ‘The branch in IJmuiden is not being run down,’ responds Imares director Tammo Bult.

In recommendations to the management the staff council writes that its confidence in the management is minimal due to their ‘low negligible visibility and faulty communication’. The management should explain things more and take the concerns of the staff more seriously, says the council. The council was not in favour of abandoning the departmental structure and thinks harmonization between the new thematic teams will be more difficult.