We Vote NO on the 2023 Collective Labor Agreement
On June 29th, 2023 UNL and the unions’ negotiators announced the draft version of the most recent collective labor agreement for Dutch universities. Together with the other casual groups across the country we have issued a joint statement in response to the draft agreement.
While we acknowledge the efforts of all activists and union negotiators, in solidarity with all precarious workers in the academic system, Casual Leiden cannot in good conscience support the offers made by UNL after seven rounds of negotiations. We find that these agreements fail to substantially stem the epidemic of precarity in our sector by asking us once more to rely on unearned trust in our employers, and continue to hide the extent to which our universities have come to structurally depend on the current status quo. We will be casting a principled vote AGAINST the CLA in its present form.
- 9% pay rise
The 9% rise in pay will bring much needed relief to employees at the lower end of the pay scale. But not only does this rise only kick in September, it accounts neither for the months already past (which saw inflation rates as high as 14.5%) nor the year ahead, which is likely to see more uncertainty. We therefore continue to ask for inflation-matching pay. If the law has allowed landlords until recently to increase rents in step with inflation +1%, a matching-inflation pay rise should not be up for negotiation every year, but a given. Instead it is being used time and again to undersell us on the true structural changes that are needed to the system.
- 13.5% target reduction of temporary contracts
We welcome the setting of precise targets but past experiences have given us little faith in UNL’s commitment to procedural transparency and accountability in meeting such targets. These percentages obfuscate the true scale of temporary contracts which are as high as 60% in places. Moreover, this approach continues to side-step the issue of poor employership and the central demand of our campaign: the application of (the previously agreed principle) permanent contracts for structural work. It is not only about bringing down numbers, it is about dismantling the institutional structures that allow for casualisation to happen. This CLA does not get us nearer that crucial change needed across the sector.
Call to action - VOTE NO on the current CLA draft and join the Teacher’s strike on 5 October!
The only way to build the higher education sector that we all deserve and that society needs, is through a tradition of taking industrial action. Workers have struck across the country in the last year in ways that seemed unthinkable 12 months ago, landing crucial wins for decent pay and safe working conditions. Our own colleagues at UvA have pulled this off twice! We therefore plan to join the strike action alongside teachers in October and call on all university employees to do the same.