It is looking as though the executive board of Wageningen UR and the employees’ councils at Van Hall and Larenstein are coming closer to an agreement in their negotiations on a full merger of the two applied science institutions.
Van Hall only wants to agree to a merger if 22 conditions are met. On 18 of the points there is a fair degree of agreement with the Wageningen UR board, says MR chair Hans Bezuijen. And one major condition, that the division of staff services be equally divided between the institutes, has been met.
Initially, the MR demanded that Animal Management stay in Leeuwarden for ten years. They have not withdrawn the demand but are willing to discuss the ten years, says Bezuijen. Executive board spokesman Simon Vink says the board agrees on the importance of Animal Management, but does not want to commit itself to ten years. But he stresses that nothing will be done to weaken the position of the programme in Leeuwarden. 'On the contrary, by investing in the Dairy Campus (a 20-million-euro research and education collaboration with the province of Friesland and the city of Leeuwarden) will only strengthen it.'
Larenstein has its own set of conditions too. One of them is to have its own board. 'To defend our own interests', says Larenstein MR chair Dennis de Jager. 'Dijkhuizen now wears two hats. He chairs the VHL board and the Wageningen UR board.' Another demand, for a guarantee that the Velp estate remain the property of Larenstein, is not linked to the merger, according to Vink. 'There are no plans to get rid of the estate. Everyone sees that it is a useful asset. But you do have to be able to carry the costs.'