Yesterday it was packed in the courtroom where former teacher Marijn Scholte sued Utrecht University. Several dozen teachers came to support Scholte in his fight against temporary contracts. AOb sector director Donald Pechler: “It is great that Scholte is starting a lawsuit. Many people do not dare to do it from a social security point of view. ”
For four years, Marijn Scholte worked as a lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Utrecht University. His contract expired in March, but there was no permanent employment, because according to the institution, you also have to do research work for that.
Scholte then applied for another vacancy at the university. To his surprise, his letter was set aside because, according to the university, it would be a sign of bad employerhood if he were to get a temporary contract again. That led Scholte to decide to go to court for a permanent contract.
“There is a broad social discussion behind this case,” states his lawyer Twan Kersten in the courtroom, which is well filled with about fifty listeners. One of the teachers who came to court to show support for Scholte is Luzia Heu. As a university lecturer, she has been given a permanent contract in Utrecht. But according to her, everyone suffers from the many temporary contracts. “New people need to be trained again and again. It places a higher burden on all teachers, ”she says.
“New people need to be trained over and over again. It places a greater burden on all teachers
Teacher Jasper Steggink is also following the case closely. He says he’s in the same boat as Scholte. He has had three contracts in three years and also had to leave Utrecht University. “I knew when I started that I got a temporary contract and saw it primarily as a great opportunity. I now see what system is behind it, and I feel that this is a dead end for me, ”he says. Steggink hopes the lawsuit will bring about “structural changes.”
Lawyer Kersten argues in his plea that the university is guilty of being a bad employer. “A teacher is always happy that he has a job. This is how an undesirable system is maintained. “According to him, Scholte’s temporary contract does not do justice to the building work he carried out.” In fact, it is clear: there is a permanent need for teachers, “he says.
‘An unwanted system is maintained’
Before the trial, the lawyer asked the union for its position on the agreement and the posting of teachers with temporary contracts. Pechler: “If there is construction work, then the employees must have a permanent contract. When there are no fluctuations in the number of students, there is structural work. ”
According to the AOb sector manager, the universities themselves are creating a permanent demand for temporary staff. “They take teaching assignments from university teachers and then hire substitute teachers exclusively for teaching. Those teachers are apparently good enough to provide the academic education for four years. The university therefore contradicts itself when a permanent employment at UU is only possible for assistant professors, because they have to combine teaching and research, ”says Pechler. He thinks it’s great that Scholte is starting a lawsuit. “This is not easy, many do not dare. They are in a dependent position and are therefore in a difficult position to report injustice. ”
Sophie Wierenga-Heintz, the university’s lawyer, denies that there is a bad employer. According to her, no “false expectations” have been created. In addition, she believes that a layer of temporary lecturers is part of the business operation because the university must be able to respond to fluctuating students. The institution also needs temporary replacements for permanent teachers participating in research projects.
The university is “not afraid” of permanent contracts, the lawyer argues, but wants to ensure that education is mainly provided by university lecturers (who combine teaching and research). According to the lawyer, other teachers are only used to fill the gaps within the fixed capacity. The university plans to expand the number of foreign ministers, she emphasizes, which will increase the number of permanent employees.
Utrecht University yesterday issued a statement saying it is “unfortunate” that a former employee has gone to court. She will “treat temp colleagues well”, but will “unfortunately certainly not be able to offer them all permanent employment”.
The judge sums up the dispute briefly and well: “Is this building work? One says ‘yes’, the other says ‘no’. The law is so simple sometimes. “The verdict follows on August 3.
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