Organisation - August 24, 2010

Blow your vuvuzela for a pay rise

Education unions are going to make themselves heard on 6 September before the opening of the academic year. With the slogan ‘Science is worth its weight in gold’, they will campaign for a pay rise for university staff.

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'We are going to make a din on vuvuzelas and hand out flyers at the aula, the Hof van Wageningen and the Forum', says unions spokesman Dick Verduin. 'We want to prevent the development of inequality before the law.' The unions have already reached labour agreements with the applied sciences institute Van Hall Larenstein and with DLO, but not yet with the university. The national consultations between the universities' association VSNU and the unions have reached a stalemate.

Verduin: 'Wageningen University made ten million euros profit last year. Student numbers have risen sharply, with very little increase in staffing. Staff have put tremendous efforts into coping with that growth. We think the board should reward those efforts.'
The education unions have asked professors to carry a card saying 'Science is worth its weight in gold' on their gowns when they go to the opening of the academic year, and to hand the cards to board chairman Aalt Dijkhuizen. The unions have no intention of disrupting the ceremony, says Verduin, who speaks on behalf of four unions representing about one thousand members of the university staff between them.

Education unions will be carrying out campaigns for a good labour agreement at other universities too. They want university managements to put pressure on the VSNU to reach a national agreement with the unions which maintains employees' purchasing power and offers job security.


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