Organisations tell scholarship PhDs: ‘Lodge a complaint with the UG’

PhD interest groups Promovendi Network Netherlands (PNN) and the Groningen Graduate Interest Network (GRIN) are telling scholarship PhDs to lodge a complaint with the UG for not applying an inflation adjustment to their scholarships.

They also want the board of the directors to increase scholarships according to its terms by 9.6 percent effective immediately. PhDs students who have complaints can turn to the organisations.

Last week, it became known that in the annual indexing of the scholarships, the UG is deviating from the norm stated in the contract. Instead of sticking to the consumer price index for April published by Statistics Netherlands, the UG increased scholarships by 4 percent, the same pay rise that employees get. This results in a nearly 100-euro difference a month.

Unacceptable

‘It’s unacceptable that the UG has unilaterally decided not to honour its contract with the scholarship PhDs. A deal is a deal. Scholarship PhDs are among the lowest paid academic staff. They’re already paid much less than employed PhDs. A decision that affects their livelihood shouldn’t be taken lightly’, says PNN chair Anneke Kastelein.

She says the university has made it abundantly clear over the past few years that scholarship PhDs are not equal to employed PhDs. And now they’re saying they’re the same after all? It’s awful that they’re sticking to the collective agreement when scholarship PhDs don’t fall under it and don’t reap the benefits of it.’

Disappointed

Björn de Kruijf with GRIN is also disappointed. ‘The university is justifying its decision by comparing unrelated cases such as lowering tuition fees and the limited increase of employee salaries’, he says.

‘On top of that, the argument that they have the option to pick the index on which to base their increase doesn’t hold water.’ GRIN will discuss the situation with the dean of Graduate Studies.

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