Organisation - October 26, 2010

VSNU rejects new collective agreement

The universities yesterday rejected the negotiation agreement for the renewal of the CAO (collective agreement). This was announced by the VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands).

It was agreed that university personnel would receive a payment of five hundred euros in November and a salary raise of half a percent from February 2011. However, these will not be implemented for the time being. VSNU executives have thrown out the agreement reached by its own negotiators. This is a 'very acute' issue for the universities, a VSNU spokesman says. 'There is no money, and even a small salary raise would mean job cuts.' Therefore, they consider this irresponsible. The budgets have meanwhile come under even more pressure, according to university executives.
'This is a slap in the face for the employees', says Marieke van den Berg, an executive member of Abvakabo FNV Union. 'We are deeply disappointed and will confer on the matter. It seems that the universities find the game of politics more important than their own employees. They have closed the books on this.' More than eighty percent of the members of Abvakabo FNV voted for the negotiation agreement.
The current university CAO carries on automatically till 1 March. 'We suppose that when the time comes, we will negotiate with the unions again', says the VSNU spokesman. There will be no salary increase in the meantime; nor will the one-off bonus of 500 euros be given out.
'I don't have any idea what they want to discuss with us', comments van den Berg. 'They have created a problem now. We are going to confer on this, and I cannot anticipate what we will do. But we are not going to just sit and wait till the VSNU decides to talk to us once again sometime in February.'

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