Collective labour agreement: higher salaries and eventually more permanent jobs

Students protest against teachers' working conditions in 2019. Photo: DUB

The old collective labour agreement expired on April 1. In view of the high inflation, unions and universities wanted to conclude a new agreement quickly. They have just announced the result of their negotiations.

The 4 percent pay rise takes effect on July 1. The 400 euro bonus is pro rata, so those working part-time will get less. However, the amount is higher for those on the university minimum wage of 14 euros per hour: they will get 750 euros.

Last Thursday, before the negotiations, dozens of lecturers protested against the culture of flexible employment at Dutch universities. Their complaint is that many lecturers have to go from temporary contract to temporary contract, never able to settle anywhere.

The unions say that this will change, but they have not yet received any concrete undertakings. The agreement states merely that unions and employers will make arrangements about it.

The universities themselves talk (statement in Dutch only) of a "joint study" on the possibility to offer more permanent contracts. The negotiator on behalf of the universities, Marcel Nollen, a member of VU Amsterdam's Executive Board, states in a press release: “The universities and employees’ organisations recognise the need for a clear career perspective for teaching staff that does justice to their contribution to the universities. Good employment practice is of primary importance here.”

The agreement also contains an improvement to the parental leave scheme, anticipating the new rules that take effect on August 1. Parents will receive 70 percent of their usual pay (up until now, that was 62.5 percent) and are entitled to leave even if they have been employed by the university for less than a year.

This is a deal reached by the negotiators. Employers and union members have yet to give their approval. The new collective labour agreement will be in force until April 1, 2023.