Joint statement CasualAcademy and 0.7 on the draft Collective Labour Agreement

Dear Academia,

Last week, UNL and the unions’ negotiators  announced the draft version of the new collective labour agreement for Dutch universities. It includes the first concrete steps towards ending the casualization of labour in academia, by obligating the universities to cap the amount of FTE for teachers on temporary contracts at 13.5% of all their academic teaching staff. That translates to ca. 300 full-time positions becoming permanent across the country over the next three years.

This is an undeniably positive development. We praise the efforts of all activists, action groups, unions and union representatives who have been involved in the fight for better labour conditions in Dutch academia. Without them, none of this would be possible and the problems of precarious university workers would still be invisible. 

But we cannot declare victory yet. Even with the current agreement, universities will still be able to employ a significant part of their workforce to perform structural labour on temporary contracts. While this agreement represents a hard-fought and important step in the right direction, we remain far removed from the fair, inclusive, and rewarding higher education sector that we envision and advocate for.

We also have a number of specific concerns regarding the current agreement, which lead us to stipulate the following: 

  • Transparent and up-to-date data on the current number of temporary contracts for every university should be made publicly available, as well as data that show by how much temporary contracts are being reduced at each university.
  • There should be a clearly formulated plan for monitoring universities’ progress in the reduction of temporary contracts and for holding them accountable for any hypothetical failure to comply with targets set by the agreement. Monitoring should occur at both the national and the local level.
  • Finally, the full SoFoKleS report on casualization in Dutch academia should be published immediately, and there should be a statement on how this report informed the CLA negotiations. The universities should also be clear on how the findings of the report will influence their policy. UNL shamefully decided to keep this report a secret until the negotiations were done, and even now they plan to only release a summarized version. Such important reports should never again be hidden from the larger academic community and should be released publicly as soon as they become available.

Our core demands remain the same: permanent contracts for structural work, social safety, and a reasonable workload. In order to get what we want, we must continue to organize ourselves. We call on everyone in Dutch higher education to unite against the neoliberal university. This includes becoming a member of AOb, CNV or FNV, and/or joining your local or national action groups, such as WOinActie, the casuals or 0.7. Together we can build a better academia.

In solidarity,

Casual Academy & 0.7

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