Organisation - June 5, 2010

Velp and Leeuwarden reject merger

The employees' councils of the Van Hall Institute in Leeuwarden and Larenstein in Velp are against a merger with Wageningen UR unless their many conditions are met.

One hard demand is that the Animal Management programme should only be offered in Leeuwarden for the next ten years. The Employees' Council (MR) in Leeuwarden rejects a merger unless twenty two conditions are met, while the MR at Larenstein has set fifteen conditions. One of their demands is that the institute keeps the Larenstein estate, where it is now housed.  Another hard demand is that the institution retains a financially and administratively independent management board.  'We only want to join Wageningen UR on an equal basis', states chairman Dennis de Jager of the Larenstein MR.
Animal Management
According to Hans Bezuijen, chair of the VHI MR (and of the join council of VHL), Animal Management is a unique degree programme. 'The only one in the whole of Europe. If you start offering it in Wageningen, Leeuwarden will lose a big proportion of its new recruits.' A further demand is that the Applied Sciences branch of Wageningen UR should retain its own identity. Bezuijen: 'Staff services are threatened with centralization at Wageningen UR. A slow and long-winded electronic ordering system has been imposed on us, for example.' Employees also want adjustments to the MR regulations that were originally agreed but then scrapped to be restored.
Opinion Poll
More than half the staff who responded to an opinion poll by the MR of the VHI in Leeuwarden were against a merger. Well over half only want a merger under certain conditions. Most of the staff in Wageningen were in favour of a merger. At Larenstein in Velp, half were against, almost a third wanted to set conditions, and the rest were in favour of a merger.
Resigned
There were such strong disagreements during the MR meeting at Larenstein in Velp on Wednesday that three representatives from Wageningen left the meeting and resigned. Two of them also withdrew from the GMR and the Central Employees' Council (CMO) of Wageningen UR. 'Really stupid', was the judgement of Dennis de Jager of the Larenstein MR. By withdrawing they ensure that the views of Wageningers are not represented in the GMR , which could lead to its adopting the conditions on Animal Management set by the MR of the VHI in Leeuwarden.
The advice of both the MR and the GMR was sent to the executive board of Wageningen UR last night. Spokesperson Viola Peulen said the board would respond next week.

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