The universities have a new collective labor agreement.
The universities have a new collective labor agreement.

Picture: Type tank

Collective labor agreement for universities aims at more permanent jobs

In the collective labor agreement for the universities, the negotiators are aiming for more permanent jobs. This means that university lecturers, associate professors, professors and support and management staff will from now on be given permanent employment after one year of temporary contracts.

In addition, all employees see a wage increase plus one-off payment on their pay slips and universities must make concrete agreements with the Local Consultation (LO) about their task assignment and reduction of work pressure.

“It has become a policy-rich collective labor agreement with many new agreements, for example about work pressure, contracts and working from home,” says AObsector director Donald Pechler. He sat on behalf of the AOb since November at the negotiating table to discuss a new collective labor agreement.

More permanent jobs

Especially the Appointment about permanent jobs is important for the unions. University lecturers, senior lecturers, professors and support and management staff (obp) must from now on be given a permanent contract after one year if they perform well (if they have 'proven suitability'). “This applies to a large group of employees,” says Pechler. “Around eight hundred academic staff members will be given a permanent contract this year, and that rises to two thousand in the group of obp'ers. This is a significant improvement, because if you followed the current collective labor agreement for universities, employees could even get a temporary contract for four years or even longer.”

Under the new collective labor agreement, eight hundred scientific employees will be given a permanent contract and in the group of obp'ers this rises to two thousand.

Dismissal protection

Another agreement is that the dismissal protection period will be shortened in phases. Employees currently receive a total of thirteen months of dismissal protection in the event of reorganisations. This means that they may not be fired during those months, but then have the time to find other work.

From 1 July 2023, the dismissal protection period will be reduced to ten or eleven months. The number of months depends on the number of years of service. From 1 January 2025, employees will receive six or seven months of dismissal protection. Pechler: “They continue to be paid without having to do any work for it, because most scientific employees already work overtime, so what is left of work-to-work guidance? In the old arrangement, employees continued to do their own work, but in fact were not given time to look for other work. They will now have that opportunity. In addition, every employee who falls under a reorganization will receive a budget in line with the market for professional support in finding other work.” From 1 July 2023, older employees who are five years or less before their state pension age and who have been employed for fifteen years or longer will now receive one year of dismissal protection.

Minimum wage

The collective labor agreement negotiators have also made agreements about wages. From July 2021, all university employees will see a pay increase of 1,64 percent appear on their pay slips. This will be followed by a plus of 1 percent from 2022 January 0,36. With this new collective labor agreement, employees also receive a one-off payment of 650 euros for a full-time job. Institutions will pay this bonus in September this year.

Pechler is also proud of an appointment for employees who fall into the lowest salary scales, such as porters, service employees, cleaners and employees at the repro. From 1 July 2021, 14 euros will be the minimum hourly wage, which will raise the six lowest salary scales. “It was an explicit wish of our members to do something for this group. They facilitate education. I'm glad we got this sorted out."

All employees receive a wage increase of 1,64 percent and a one-off payment of 650 euros

Working pressure reduction

Another important theme is work pressure and especially the way in which it can be reduced. Under the negotiator's agreement, university boards must enter into discussions with the Local Consultation (LO) to make proper agreements about the demarcation of work and private time.

University boards must enter into discussions with the Local Consultative Body (LO) to make proper agreements about the demarcation of work and private time.

In addition, the LO must consider 'freely disposable working time' for employees. All employees should receive this where they can decide for themselves what they do. Universities can, for example, introduce meeting-free weeks, or never schedule appointments at one hour of the day. In addition, employees must be given a realistic task assignment. “Some employees are so crammed with education that they can't do research during work hours,” says Pechler. “Employers must take this into account and make clear agreements with the LO and the participation council. They have an important role in this. Employees must be given a realistic task assignment, in which universities, for example, establish the relationship between education, research, preparation and other tasks. They can indicate bandwidths for that.”

Homework allowance

Working from home is also related to the work-life balance. Due to corona, this is a more important issue than ever and that is why agreements have now been made. There are two options that universities can choose from to provide work-from-home allowances to their employees. “Working from home was often only arranged informally. We have now clearly laid down agreements and fees for it, such as internet fees, which will apply from 1 September 2021.”

'Working from home was often only arranged informally, now there are clear agreements'

AObNegotiator Pechler presented the agreement positively to the sector council. The council has agreed. Now can AOb-members to give their opinion on the agreement by e-mail until July 16. “An agreement is always a package deal. There are many good points in it, such as the workload that is subject to concrete agreements and the standardization of educational tasks, more job security and a wage agreement that retains purchasing power.”

The collective labor agreement has a term from January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

The members' poll on the agreement has now been closed. The results will be announced on July 30.

Curious about the entire negotiation agreement? Download the agreement via this link. English version click here. 

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