End the casualisation of labour

End structural overwork

Ensure a safe working environment

In solidarity with Casual Uva, Casual Maastricht would like to ask your attention for the Casual UvA press release:

Latest News:
Press release Casual UvA
30 May 2023, Amsterdam,


In 2022, after eight weeks of a marking strike performed by over 120 junior lecturers across eight departments, Casual UvA - in good faith and a spirit of partnership - agreed to suspend the action following the introduction of a new central HR lecturer policy. Such a move was under the condition of closely monitoring the implementation of the new lecturer policy, paying careful attention to how specifics would be taken up across departments.

After a year of close monitoring, we are dissatisfied with the implementation, and as a result with the policy itself, namely the discrepancies between departments and lack of the generous application that was communicated. While we suspended in good faith, we do not feel such faith was reciprocated. Thus, we re-activate the action.

DEMONSTRATION – Marking strike

What is our aim?

To perform a marking strike. We will withhold grades for final assignments of Block 5. All other responsibilities and tasks will be carried out, facilitation of education will continue. Note: We stipulate that any adjacent colleagues cannot be assigned striking individuals’ sections, in principle and in the principle of mediating overwork impact.

What are our demands?

1.Permanent contracts 2.Professional development 3.Workload transparency

We advocate for emphasis on education as that which underlines structural work, and petition for these conditions to better support employees in junior teacher positions.

We encourage leadership, be it department chairs and deans, to respond. We appeal to the CvB to address our concerns regarding the policy and engage in conversation about its further development.

Nationally, we express our support for the union’s demands in the current CAO negotiations, namely permanent positions for structural work. We hope University management will join us in supporting this position.

We appeal for support from all levels of academia, locally to nationally. We can only end casualisation together.

In solidarity, Casual UvA

Casual Maastricht meeting, 9 December 2022, 17.00 - 19.00.

There will be an opportunity to join virtually via a Zoom-link.
To receive the location and Zoom-link, please email casualmaastricht@gmail.com.

During this meeting, a central issue to discuss is a new UM-wide policy for a career track for teaching staff members (D4, D3, etc.), The new policy mentions “[D4] staff already employed at UM” "will receive a permanent contract in which – during 6 years – the Teaching Fellow has the opportunity to obtain a PhD on the basis of a minimum of 50% of one’s time dedicated to the PhD and the remainder of the time being spent as a Teaching Fellow." At present, it is unclear how and when this policy will be implemented. The new policy has been ratified by the University Council, the Board of Deans and the Local Consultative Body (Lokaal Overleg, i.e. with the unions). The Faculty Boards now need to decide how to implement the policy.

Dear colleague,

With this message we would like to take the opportunity to ask you to become a member of a labor union (of the AOB, CNV, FNV). Your membership is urgently needed, right now!

WHY JOIN TODAY? This year (2022 - 2023), the executive boards of the Dutch Universities and the unions will be negotiating a new Collective Labour Agreement (CLA). The unions are representing us, the employees, in this negotiation for better working conditions. If you are a member of the union, you will have a right to vote for or against the negotiated proposal for the CLA (you will receive an email to vote).

Increasing our salaries has been an important point of negotiation for the unions and needs urgent attention in times of accelerating economic inflation. However, we, and many other university workers with us, think that other issues are also crucial to the new agreement.

Temporary contracts (the so-called "flexibele schil") are being used to maintain unfair working conditions and overwork, both for temporary and permanent staff members. We need a hard formulation, in the CLA to decrease the number of temporary staff members. Structural work needs permanent contracts.

Changes in pension agreements sorely need more oversight from those that are most affected by these changes - which means you! As the experience of our colleagues in the UK shows, universities and pensions managers will use every weapon at their disposal - including your inaction.

Our new Collective Labour Agreement needs to ensure good working conditions,  for all! 

We would like to ask colleagues with permanent contracts to show their solidarity with colleagues on temporary contracts. If the negotiated CAO proposal is inadequate or vague, we need to massively reject it and send our executive boards back to the negotiation table.

Time’s up, get ready for action. Become a union member, today.

Extra information and links:

(Membership too expensive? Keep in mind that part of your membership costs, around 40%, will be reimbursed to you at the end of each calendar year by your university, which means total costs will be between 8 and 12 euro per month)

Become a member of the AOB:


Become a member of the CNV:


Become a member of the FNV:


Starting in 2019, anti-casualization initiatives in the Netherlands, together with the action group WOinActie, have been organizing meetings and demonstrations to effect change regarding the issue of casualisation (handing out temporary contracts for structural work). You can find more information on the work of “Casual Academy” and “Zero Point Seven” by following these links.

Casual Academy: https://casualacademy.nl/

Zero point seven: https://zeropointseven.nl/

Becoming a union member, because:

1. Lock in better working conditions at the sectoral level. 

Everybody who works at a Dutch university is covered by a collective labor agreement (cao), which locks in certain benefits and protections. For example, over 800 academic staff will be given a permanent contract this year thanks to the latest cao. These agreements are negotiated by the unions, which represent the employees, and the VSNU, which represents the employers. The problem is that very few employees at Dutch universities are actually union members. This makes for a weak negotiating position compared with other sectors, such as primary schools. But it also means there is limited input from us about what goes on in our workplace and what needs to change. More members mean more power to extract substantial concessions from the university administration and the government. But it also means YOU have a say in what issues are on the table at these negotiations, and whether or not the agreement is actually accepted.

2. Stand up for all employees with the Board of the University. 

Once a month, union representatives meet with the Board of the University (College van Bestuur) at a meeting called the Local Consultation (Lokaal Overleg). They discuss serious and/or systematic problems that have arisen across the university, and advocate for improvements to employees’ working conditions. For example, they made sure PhD students got needed extensions during the COVID-19 crisis. Organizing within the university ensures that your concerns, and those of your vulnerable colleagues, are at the top of the agenda. And voicing concerns together means that no individual gets targeted for speaking out.

3. Get the individual advice and legal representation you need.  

We’ve all heard stories of colleagues accepting bad contracts after misleading conversations with HR and managers. And then there are the troubling reports of harassment, bullying, intimidation, and other hostile workplace conditions. Unions employ people to support you, whether you need advice about contractual and workplace issues, or someone to accompany you to a difficult meeting. They also employ lawyers who provide free legal representation to all members. However, you have to be a member for 9 months if you want to receive legal backing, so please make sure you are legally protected by joining a union. Do not wait until you are in a conflict. As a union staffer recently said to us, “The union is your HR!”.  

4. Action, organizing and unionizing are a shared civil responsibility.  

It's important to realize that often, employees have opposite interests to employers. The notion that employers and unions are ‘working together’ towards a better university, or that employers organisations can speak for employees, is a fairly recent one, primarily pushed by non-workers. We have to re-familiarize ourselves with the idea that our labour rights are our own concern, not those of our employers. All the labour rights we have today have been hard fought, not in the least by the unions. But these unions have been shrinking for decades. Currently they are relatively toothless, and it’s become so bad that they are in danger of being excluded as a negotiation partner for the CAO. Currently, the risk of strikes is relatively small, since the unions are so small and hardly consist of academic staff. We, the university employees, seem to have forgotten that unions will not automatically take care of us: the responsibility for workers’ rights is on ourselves! We are the union and the union is us. It always has been. Action, organizing, and unionizing are a shared civil responsibility. We have neglected our responsibilities, and it shows. If we don’t fight for our own rights, we will lose them. Period.

Casual Maastricht is an action group that aims to unite staff at Maastricht University to discuss and effect change regarding current issues of casualisation (temporary contracts) at the university, structural overwork and other careless working conditions at the university.

As part of the Netherlands-wide Casual Academy, inspired by local initiatives at Leiden University (Casual Leiden), and action groups in Utrecht, Nijmegen en Groningen (such as zeropointseven (0.7), among others), we gather to discuss how we can organise for change at Maastricht University. We particularly aim to unite fixed-term and permanent UM staff in organising for change, so we call on teaching staff (teaching assistants and D4's), PhD's, Postdocs, administrative, support and management staff, assistant professors, associate professors and professors to join this initiative.

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