Blog & Opinion
4 February 2019 • Mathieu Heemelaar
Lecturers in salary scale 10?
If it is left to the Executive Board, THUAS will be recruiting new lecturers in salary scale 10. The General Council considers this to be an unfortunate idea and has rejected it twice. The ball is now in the Executive Board’s court as to whether they will continue with this plan and for instance, dispute this issue with the General Council. It is incomprehensible that the Executive Board is not investing in quality lecturers at a time when the quality of our education was ranked penultimate out of all universities of applied sciences by our students. The General Council does not consider it appropriate to downgrade lecturers.
Campaign against salary scale 10
The General Union of Education (AOb) has called on the entire education sector to join a national education strike on 15 March at the Malieveld in The Hague. The workload is increasing across all sectors of education. The labour shortage is rising. “The attractiveness of a job in education has fallen. This is simply because salaries have been lagging behind the market due to constant cutbacks. Staff shortages cause increasing workloads, while education currently has the highest risk of burnout. This needs to change”, said Liesbeth Verheggen, President of the AOb. The AOb has issued the following demands to universities of applied sciences:
An extra 1.25% pay increase each year
Abolishment of salary scale 10 for lecturers
Shorter salary scales for support staff
Executive Board against union demand
The General Council has indicated to the Executive Board that the plan to engage lecturers from scale 10 flies directly in the face of this collective labour agreement demand of the trade union. It would be incomprehensible from an administrative point of view to first appoint scale 10 lecturers (with lower qualification requirements) and to then promote this group to scale 11 using money from the collective labour agreement. We could make better use of the money by appointing extra lecturers in salary scale 11 who meet the scale-11 qualification requirements (possession of a Master’s degree). This would enable us to have smaller classes and reduce workloads and to optimally guarantee the quality of education.
Around ten years ago, the former Executive Board at THUAS made the conscious and good decision to appoint lecturers in the new job classification system for educational staff in a higher scale, starting at scale 11 and not from scale 10. A scale-13 position, Senior Lecturer, was introduced for excellent lecturers. THUAS distinguished itself positively from some other universities of applied sciences, which introduced a lecturer position at salary scale 10. This position does not exist at THUAS. However, there is a scale-10 position for senior practical instructors. Examples of this position include practical assistants in the Nutrition and Dietetics degree programme, or new members of teaching staff who do not yet have a Master’s degree. THUAS should be proud of its relatively high salary scale for lecturers.
The General Council does not find the Executive Board’s proposal to be consistent. For instance, we read that Back on Track calculated that THUAS would make savings of €150,000 per year with the introduction of the scale-10 position. The accompanying memorandum made contrary claims, and stated that it does not propose to cutback lecturer positions. The Executive Board pointed out the benchmark with other major universities of applied sciences. However, the benchmark shows that the best university of applied sciences in the Netherlands (Avans) has few lecturers in scale 10. We should continue to follow the good example set by Avans.
According to Kompas, 46% of members of staff would not recommend THUAS as an employer to their friends and family. This will not improve if we recruit members of staff who earn less than lecturers currently working at the university of applied sciences. Since there is little scope for promotion among lecturers, staff in scale 10 will have to wait for many years after they gain their Master’s degree before they are paid at scale 11.
62% of our teaching staff find the workload far too high. However, it is the other way around for management and support staff – a majority of them, between 53% and 55%, found the workload fine. You do not solve the workload issue by employing lecturers with lower qualifications, but rather by recruiting more lecturers who meet the qualification requirements in keeping with universities of applied sciences. Furthermore, you solve this by once again becoming an attractive employer after years of decline.
In my mind, these are sufficient reasons to go out on strike.
What do you think?
Mathieu Heemelaar is the President of the General Council and a lecturer in Social Work. He writes a blog in a personal capacity on the importance of counterforce. In his blogs, he remains within the scope of the General Council’s positions.