These are vacancies, the two advertisements that were placed by the Department of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam earlier this week. The department is looking for fifteen to twenty other teachers for the upcoming academic year. These teachers must be able to teach multiple courses, mentor students, develop instruction and supervise dissertations. They will be given a temporary appointment of two years, for a maximum of 27 hours per week. Welcome to the world of a temporary teacher, the employee who maintains higher education in the humanities and social sciences for very little – at least without a permanent contract or a full-time job.
The hope was that the position of these temporary teachers would be improved in the new collective labor agreement. Unfortunately. Trade unions and the umbrella organization Universities of the Netherlands reached an agreement negotiating a new collective labor agreement last week, and their agreements for temporary teachers are disappointing. Although “admittedly, there is a need for a clear career perspective for lecturers that do justice to their contribution to the university sector”, this recognition does nothing. Anyway, nothing, there will be an investigation. Unions and employers will together consider possibilities for more permanent contracts. They do this on the basis of “data analysis” (in which the data remains unreported) and include the results in subsequent CLA negotiations.
With a lot of good intentions, you can see this as a step in the right direction, just as you can admiringly describe the erasure of government communications as you see fit as “real-time archiving”. With a bit of goodwill, but perhaps more realistically, you could say: unwillingness.
Dutch universities often use temporary contracts
Do your research if you need more information. But we have enough information about temporary teachers. We know how many they are and where they are. The Rathenau Institute published a fact sheet on the subject at the end of last year. This has shown that the proportion of temporary lecturers varies greatly from one university to another. At some universities, 30 percent of people with full teaching contracts work temporary jobs, and another 90 percent. In general, the following applies: Dutch universities use temporary contracts more than foreign universities.
We know that this huge amount of temporary contracts harms the welfare of the employees themselves, and harms the quality of education, social safety and the workload of both temporary and permanent employees. If the negotiators did not have this knowledge, they could have sought help from the Rathenau Institute, or the Casual Academy and 0.7 working groups, who undoubtedly would have helped with love. More research adds a little; It just slows down.
The UvA wants to adopt a new policy before the summer
Geert Tendam, president of the Executive Board of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), agrees. Earlier this week, he stated that a collective labor agreement is not enough. The UvA wants to adopt a new policy before the summer to improve the position of temporary lecturers more quickly. Lecturers should be awarded a permanent contract sooner, and temporary contracts should have a longer duration and greater scope – so there is no appointment for three days a week for two years, but for four years (approximately) full time.
Good news for the loss of the temporary teachers who will assign my subordinates to Tin Dam in media studies, I believe. Thanks to these plans, they may get a permanent contract at the end of their two-year contract.
At other universities too, hopeful developments can be discerned here and there – there are already administrators realizing that things can no longer be this way. So this will be an excellent moment for the umbrella organization Universities of the Netherlands to demonstrate leadership and to include in the collective labor agreement that structural work in all universities includes a permanent contract. Instead, they got no further than: more research. If I sat at the collective labor agreement table on behalf of the universities of the Netherlands, I would be ashamed of myself.
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