In September of this year 0.7 and Casual Academy launched a ‘Doomsday Clock’, calling on CvBs across the country to make good on their promises and make concrete proposals to address the massive and growing numbers of temporary docenten, on which universities have become so reliant. If universities failed to do so, the call made clear that in the next semester we would escalate the pressure and organise direct and industrial action to force the CvBs to make good on their word. The call was supported by WOinActie, as well as by the unions.
Across the country – in Leiden, Maastricht, Utrecht, Nijmegen, Amsterdam and Groningen –
CvBs agreed to meet with casual staff and action groups. While Maastricht University, Groningen University and the UvA have not yet responded to the demands of their casual campaigns, Utrecht University has presented a plan and funding, and Leiden University released a statement following the demands issued by Casual Leiden
However, as noted in the statement of 0.7 after the expiration of the doomsday clock, the limited scale of the outcomes so far demonstrates that more action and more pressure will be necessary to solve the problems faced by all casual staff in Dutch higher education. The struggle, therefore, continues. In the next months, local and national groups will move to organise demonstrations, sit ins, and industrial action across the country, starting with our national day of action on the 14th February, held under the title: The University Won’t Love Us Back.
As noted by 0.7 in their statement, we will continue to strive towards a simple goal: all staff in our universities deserve fair, respectful, and dignified working conditions. As long as our universities fail to meet these basic expectations, we will bring them in action. While we are aware of the failure of successive governments to adequately fund higher education, we refuse to be the casualties of a conflict that our managers are avoiding to take on. We continue to hope that the CvBs will hear our message and acknowledge the crucial work done by thousands of colleagues on temporary contracts, who carry out key, vital, and structural work in our institutions. And we continue to hope that they will realise that it is urgent time to treat these colleagues with the basic respect and dignity that they deserve. But since our doomsday clock has come to an end, we also tell them:
Time’s Up! Get Ready For Action.