RUG apologises

The Board of Directors has apologised to the UMCG employees who lost their positions at the RUG just before Christmas 2015.
By Peter Keizer / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

In late December 2015, hundreds of employees at the teaching hospital were informed that they were no longer part of the university. Even though many of them were involved in education tasks at the RUG every single day, their zero-hour appointments were cancelled.

According to the Board of Directors, the appointment of non-scientific UMCG staff was temporary, and the term had simply expired. However, 23 UMCG employees objected and requested that the RUG continue the zero-hour appointment.

This week the university sent a letter to the people who objected in which they say they will not honour these requests. But the Board of the University also acknowledged that they had not communicated clearly.


‘We want to offer our sincere apologies‘, the Board of Directors writes in the letter. ‘Several employees who were affected by the termination of the temporary appointment were confused. They disliked the way it was communicated and the fact that it was unclear how the decision would affect their actual jobs’, RUG spokesperson Gernant Deekens explains.

Tweet translation: Note: a full year after my position was yanked away, I received a letter with an apology from the RUG board

‘Nobody spoke with us about it beforehand. We weren’t able to prepare, so it just came out of the blue’, Ger Alberts at the Institute for Medical Institution (which coordinates all the education for the medical faculty) previously described the situation. In the letter, the Board of Directors writes that at the time, they had not sufficiently realised that the employees might be unclear on the consequences of cancelling of the zero-hour appointments.

Several employees at the department of Human Movement Sciences were told on Tuesday that their zero-hour appointments would also be cancelled. ‘I didn’t get an email until Tuesday morning. But because other colleagues had heard the same news previously, it didn’t come as a surprise’, one of them says.


The UCMG employees are now considered Other External Personnel (OEP), which means they will continue to have access to the university IT programmes they need for their work. However, the employees will no longer fall under the RUG conditions and cannot make use of the tablet arrangement, the RUG’s group discount for health insurance, and the right to vote in the University Council.

The employees objected in part because they received a letter from the teaching hospital’s board of Directors in 2009. That letter said that the unpaid appointments at the RUG would be permanent. The Board of the Directors of the university does not mention this in their letter. Previously, however, the RUG said that this letter was invalid and referred to the UMCG. ‘As far as we’re concerned, that letter never should have been sent. The UMCG board has no say in RUG appointments’, Deekens said previously stated. The teaching hospital would not respond to the matter and referred complainants back to the RUG.

Scientific staff at UMCG are keeping their zero-hour appointments at the university, because without it they cannot be a professor or senior lecturer. Nor would their scientific publications be counted in the RUG’s position in the rankings.



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