The News of the Week: 11 – 18 December

What's happened in week 51? A new labour agreement for employees, council members want arts support, refuge for researchers and more.

New labour agreement for employees

thumb-kerst-champagneCollective labour negotiations took a year, but an agreement has been reached. Staff will receive a three percent structural salary increase and in 2016, there will be a one-time payment of 350 euros. Universities will also improve labour market perspective of lecturers, researchers and PhD candidates.

Universities will offer fewer flexible contracts in education and research. Essentially all PhDs and postdocs have a temporary work appointment, and universities will soon have to ensure that at least 78 percent of their staff have permanent contracts. The new agreement should come into effect on 9 January, 2015.

‘Give more money to the arts’

thumb-Harmonie-LetterenUniversity council parties want the board of directors to provide financial aid to the arts faculty. Two years after a major reorganisation that cut 33 full-time positions and ended many small language programmes, the faculty is in debt. Attracting more students could help, as well as addressing the proliferation of minors.

The students want the faculty to receive more of the money annually distributed among all faculties, but board vice president Jan de Jeu disagrees. ‘If we increase the amount that goes to the arts faculty, the other faculties would receive less.’

Refuge for persecuted researchers

thumb-SARIn 2008, the RUG became the first Dutch university to participate in Scholars at Risk (SAR), a global organization that helps researchers find a safe, temporary workplace because of their ideas, research or social position. But since then, they have only provided one position for an Iranian historian for eight months in 2010.

After that, the University decided not to make itself available to the refugees at all. University council member Jan de Jeu says, ‘We have discussed it again in the board of deans and they are prepared to participate’ – as long as the refugee’s work fits into the faculty.

Christmas envelop well received

thumb-kerstpakket2014The traditional Christmas package from the RUG and UMCG was replaced this year with an envelope with a link to a gift website. They began being distributed to the roughly 20,000 employees of the RUG and UMCG last Friday.

Employees can choose a Christmas present at, and those who don’t want something can have a donation made in their name to charitable causes like Warchild and World Wildlife Fund instead. ‘We decided on this new idea because we have heard from employees that they would like to have a choice’, RUG spokesman Gernant Deekens explains.

RUG student injured during earthquake

aardbevingRUG student Jelmer Potkamp from Groningen says that he was wounded after an earthquake in Groningen at the end of September. According to him, a piece of the wall fell and struck him on the head. The student is submitting a claim to the owner of his house.