Organisation - July 7, 2010

Van Hall Larenstein: the marriage goes ahead

The employees' councils of Van Hall Larenstein have voted for the merger. They are satisfied with the concessions made by Board.

Van Hall Larenstein will be a single University of Applied Sciences as of 1 September 2011. The employees' councils (MR in Dutch) and the executive board have agreed on a merger of the two institutions. 'It took a couple of months of hard negotiations but we are incredibly pleased. It is unbelievable that the executive board has made so many concessions', says Hans Bezuijen, chairman of the Van Hall Institute MR in Leeuwarden.
Bezuijen says all 23 conditions have been met; only the periods for some of the conditions have been shortened. Such as the period during which the Animal Management programme can only be given in Leeuwarden. That has gone down from ten to five years. Leeuwarden will also get half of all the support services. Another point is that there will not be any 'schools' (knowledge institutes) covering multiple locations, only schools at individual locations.
Too expensive
In addition, there will be close scrutiny of the services VHL buys from Wageningen UR. Bezuijen: 'Those services are too expensive for an applied agricultural university, even if they are sold at a discount.' There are also questions being asked about the corporate levy. 'No one knows what services are covered by this as services such as ICT and the electronic ordering system are paid for separately.' At any rate, there will be no more automatic increases in the corporate levy.
The Larenstein MR is satisfied too. The MR had to back down on its demand for an executive board of its own. That turned out not to be feasible, explains chairman Dennis de Jager. The Larenstein country estate in Velp is safe for the time being. The MR has obtained a right of veto on policy changes concerning the country estate and relocation.
The executive board is satisfied too, says Wageningen UR spokesman Simon Vink. 'We had open, honest discussions and were able to come to sensible agreements. This is an important step in restoring mutual trust.'
Incidentally, the Larenstein and Van Hall MRs differ in their views on how the employees' council should be set up after the merger. That issue will be addressed next year. The VHL Ahead plans for the future and the reorganization announced earlier this year will only be submitted to the MRs after the summer. ®  AB

Re:act