The UG’s financial future isn’t looking too stable. Due to, among other things, rising energy costs, a disappointing remuneration from the state, and declining student numbers, the university is greatly concerned.
‘There has been a number of setbacks at the university, and they’ve all come at the same time’, says board president Jouke de Vries.
The energy prices have increased exponentially and student numbers aren’t as high as the university expected. While the measures concerning internationalisation haven’t been finalised yet, they, too, will have an impact. These are just some of the setbacks the university is being confronted with.
New collective agreement
The new collective agreement, in which employees get a 9-percent pay increase, also plays a big part. It will cost the uni approximately 44 million euros, around half of which will be compensated by the state’s contribution.
De Vries: ‘We’ll need to find the rest somewhere else. The future is not looking bright right now. There are a lot of developments coming up and we have to prepare for those.’
The university board informed the faculties of the situation over the summer, asking them to find ways to cushion the deficit and save as much money as they could.
The consequences are already visible at the Faculty of Science and Engineering, where the faculty board has instituted a hiring freeze until at least the end of this year. They will not be hiring any new staff and if people leave, their position may not be filled again.
The university’s announcement has also been met with criticism. Union FNV doesn’t think it’s right that the salary increase, which they and the university agreed upon, was named as one of the reasons the UG is in financial dire straits. After all, the university had a say in the salary negotiations, the union says.
The negotiations, which took place before the summer, took so long because employee organisation Universities of The Netherlands (UNL) was waiting to hear from the government on how much money was available.
‘If the UG genuinely thinks the collective agreement is to blame for their financial troubles, they could have communicated this to their negotiators (UNL) before reaching an agreement’, the union writes.