Unions demand more permanent contracts, 14.3 percent pay increase

Unions want more lecturers to get permanent contracts and a 14.3 percent pay increase for all employees. 

These are two of the demands for the collective agreement the unions FNV, AOb, CNV, and FBZ presented to Dutch universities last week. Last year, the unions agreed to a pay increase of 4 percent due to the rapid inflation and rising energy costs. They reached no agreements on permanent contracts.

The universities did promise to investigate the contractual position of lecturers and how this could be improved. The unions want this investigation to result in more permanent contracts. 

Temporary contracts

‘Many (young) lecturers and researchers are going from temporary contract to temporary contract, and from university to university’, says Jan Boersma with FNV Education and Research. ‘Universities give them structural educational tasks but won’t allow them to truly become a part of the organisation.’

The temporary contracts, which usually come with relatively poor terms and conditions, lead to high work stress, an unsafe work environment, and difficult working conditions, according to the unions. ‘Any appreciation for their hard work in the form of job security is lacking. That needs to change, which is why it’s one of our most important demands for a new collective agreement’, says Boersma.


In an effort to bolster their argument, the unions presented not just their demands for the new collective agreement, but also a petition against temporary contracts, which had been signed by 1,400 people. The petition was set up in collaboration with the group Casual Academy, WOinActie, PNN, Postdocnl, and 0.7.

Other important demands the unions’ negotiators came up with are automatic price index compensation, to allow salaries to automatically increase in correspondence with inflation, pushing back against work stress and improving the sustainable availability of staff, better agreements concerning diversity and inclusivity, and improving union facilities. 

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