RUG makes short work of UMCG staff complaints

The UMCG staffers, who lost their status as RUG employees, had hung their last hopes on a letter from 2009. But according to the RUG board, the letter should never have been sent.

At the end of December, 300 staff members of the teaching hospital got word that they are no longer officially part of the university. Although many of them perform educational tasks for the RUG on a daily basis, their status as university employees was terminated.

According to the University Board, the appointments of the non-academic UMCG personnel were temporary and the term had simply expired. But 23 UMCG staff members objected on the grounds of a letter they received from the Board of Directors of the academic hospital in 2009 in which they were promised that their appointments would be permanent. However, according to the university, the letter is invalid.


‘In our opinion, that letter should never have been sent. The UMCG board does not handle job appointments at the RUG’, says RUG spokesperson Gernant Deekens. The letter was neither discussed nor signed by the University Board, according to a notice on behalf of the RUG board to the University Council.

‘The UMCG has infringed upon the directives and instructions which were stipulated by the University Board’, say the board members, who were only informed and brought up to speed about the letter once the term of the appointments had expired.

The University Board is not willing to consider extending the zero hour positions. ‘The original agreement […] was clearly temporary in nature. Moreover, zero hour positions are only given to those who are involved in providing scientific education and fulfill research tasks. These staff members do not fall under this definition’, the University Board says.


Objector and former chairperson of the University Council Hilly Mast is not thrilled by the university’s response. ‘The letter is legally binding; you can’t just take it back after seven years. You can’t let people delude themselves for years into thinking that they have a permanent appointment at the RUG, right? Morally speaking, you can’t just take it back.’

The Board of Directors of UMCG does not want to comment on the issue. ‘We have taken this information on board, but the handling of the case is up to the RUG’, says spokesperson Marjolein Bogaards.