Marjolein Hogenbirk is a member of the local council at the University of Amsterdam.
Marjolein Hogenbirk is a member of the local council at the University of Amsterdam.

Image: Rob Niemantsverdriet

Local consultation keeps management focused

On January 1, the Trade Union for Science (Vawo) merged with the AOb. “Great, because there is still a lot to be gained within the universities,” says assistant professor Marjolein Hogenbirk, member of the local consultation at the University of Amsterdam.

Local consultation?

“In addition to the works council and the student council, you also have local meetings at all universities. A body that supervises correct compliance with the collective labor agreement. After all, there is a lot in collective labor agreements, but also a lot not. So we 'help' the Executive Board not only to look at the letter of the law, but also to act in the spirit of the law. ”

You were in the local consultation on behalf of the Vawo, but now as a representative of the AOb. How do you like that?

“De Vawo had its office in Culemborg. I happen to live there too, so I sometimes cycled past when there was something. The AOb Utrecht is now half an hour by train. We had a very nice kick-off meeting there before the corona time. I suspect that I will also drop by quite easily later. ”

What is your first impression of the AOb?

“What strikes me most is the enormous enthusiasm of everyone to make it a success together. Unfortunately, the corona threw a spanner in the works when getting to know each other better. The digital way is less suitable for this. For all Vawo people it will take some getting used to finding the way again. The lines were rather short. Now we end up in a much larger organization. Which of course has a lot more to offer. ”

What then?

“The legal service, all kinds of insurances and practical advantages. But the most important thing is that our strength is increasing. Ultimately, you are stronger together. "

What is your last major success in the local consultation?

“I am proud that for the next five years there is now a solid social status for all employees of the AUAS. With, for example, agreements on how the employer should act in the event of reorganisations. That was a huge tug of war, but ultimately with a good result. ”

What is still on the wish list?

“The enormous workload and the many temporary contracts, for example, deserve even more attention. The cause of all this is of course largely due to the lack of funding from the state. A growing number of students and a shrinking budget do not go together. On these points, we as Vawo worked very pleasantly with WOinA Actie. Incidentally, that club was born at the AUAS. ”

Any other wishes?

“I would like more people to join a union. I sometimes look jealous at universities in England, where practically every employee at the university is a member of a union. 5000 people work here at the AUAS, of which only a fifth are members of one of the unions. My greatest wish is that employees at the universities will have a task load that is realistic, without being overloaded all the time.

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