Science - January 27, 2005

Animal reorganisation delayed

The reorganisation of the Institute for Animal Husbandry Research has more or less come to a standstill. The board of directors and the employees’ council of the Animal Sciences Group are waiting for an agreement between Wageningen UR and the unions on a social accord.

‘This is a real nuisance for our personnel,’ complained director Professor Ruud Huirne, ‘But we can’t do anything about it. We’ve already had a couple of personnel meetings planned in which we wanted to indicate what was going to happen, but we’ve had to cancel it each time because the agreement is not ready yet.’

The institute for Animal Husbandry Research indicated before the summer last year that it would have to reorganise due to big losses. When Alterra and A&F also sunk deeper into the red the executive board presented a general recovery plan, Focus 2006. Last week the executive board presented the second part of the plan, which included the loss of 200 administrative jobs, and that part of A&F would be transferred to the university.

The negotiations between the unions, employees’ councils and the executive board on a social accord have been delayed, however, as a result of the new plans. And as long as there is no accord Huirne cannot get going with his reorganisation. The employees’ council at the Animal Sciences Group has now insisted that people must be given more clarity on their future prospects soon. Huirne: ‘It is irresponsible to confront people with bad news as long as we do not know what we can offer them.’

Meanwhile the shortages are mounting. ‘We are trying to limit the losses. In compiling the budget we have assumed that we will be able to give clarity to the people who will have to go before the summer. If an accord is reached quickly between Wageningen UR and the unions we should manage that.’ According to the spokesman for the executive board, Simon Vink, the board does not want to comment until negotiations with the unions have been completed. / KV

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