Legal support Meeting

Informational meeting with lawyer Twan Kersten (Van As Advocaten) 23 November 2021

On November 23, Casual Leiden welcomed Twan Kersten, lawyer at Van As Advocaten, to inform colleagues about their labour rights including the right to a permanent contract. Kersten successfully defended Arnout van Ree in his case against Leiden University. Despite the adhoc organization and late announcement, 30 people attended the online meeting.

For those who missed it, please find an overview of important points to take away from his presentation:

1. The CAO, while poorly formulated, should be taken literally.

2. The title of lecturer (D4-1) is not specified anywhere in the CAO but only in attachment M unlike all the other function titles (UD/UHD/Professor) and in the lines of the specific article where it is stated that you can hire lecturers for a short period of time or for a certain project. This function does fall under wetenschappelijk personeel (scientific personnel)

3. In Twan Kersten’s view this CAO is not in accordance with European and Dutch labour laws as of lecturers are being excluded from receiving a permanent position.

4. The universities need to objectively prove why someone should not get a permanent position once their contracts are extended as the starting position of EU and NL labour law is that all contracts should become permanent. Objective grounds are not a higher number of students or a vague description such as ‘educational developments.’ In essence this means that if the work is structural, either they are being extended to the maximum number of contracts and then replaced or it is not a project-based position, they can make a case for their position being permanent.

a. People should ask their managers and/or HR personnel why they are not being given a permanent position as part of building their case. If this leads to a conversation, they should write a summary of the conversation and send this to the respective participations to confirm the content of the conversation

b. If their contracts are extended, ask why and what their tasks are, if their tasks are the same as the previous year. This is also part of building a file/case that your work is structural

5. People should keep in mind that they have, in certain cases, only two (2) months after the end date of their labour agreement has passed to file a lawsuit with the court. For example, if your contract ends on the 15th of January you have until the 15th of March to file your lawsuit with the court. Once this deadline has passed, the claim will not be handled by the court. Of course, you can start taking legal steps before the end date of your contract.

6. You should be notified one month before the end date that the university is not extending your contract. If you continue to do work and being paid for this work even after the end of your contract, there has been an implicit extension of your labour agreement with all the attached possible consequences.

Twan Kersten also presented at the meeting on July 8 organized in response to the new Collective Labour Agreement (CAO). Please find the report of that meeting, including the PowerPoint of Kersten's presentation here: Shifting Terrain.

You may also want to read Understanding Contracts.