Works council presents workload plan: ‘If this continues, people are going to collapse’

14 Apr 2021

The workload at universities is so high that employees are collapsing. That was once again emphasized with a nationwide protest. Because additional financing will take a while, the Nijmegen Works Council is making a start with eleven measures that will reduce the workload in the short term.

‘The workload has never been this high. I am afraid that some people soon won’t be able to take it any longer’. Ezra Delahaije, Chairman of the Works Council (WC), sounds serious, and not without reason. Delahaije believes that things must change at the university as soon as possible. ‘Many things have been arranged the same way for years, but that’s simply become untenable in this corona period. I see many employees with burnout-related complaints. If this continues, people will really start to collapse.’

Spiegelwaal

His concerns are widely shared in the university community. Yesterday, for example, there were campaigns in various places in the country for a ‘Normal Academic Standard’. According to the activists, more money must be made available from the government in order to guarantee the quality of education and research. In Nijmegen, a puppet of Erasmus was carried to the Spiegelwaal and water was symbolically put to its lips.

Delahaije is happy that the problem is being taken so seriously but confirms that solutions must not only come from The Hague, but certainly also from Radboud University itself. To make this concrete, the Works Council and the University Student Council presented a joint workload plan last February with eleven points (see box).

Making profit

Some of them have since been put into effect, Delahaije says. ‘Various departments have already informed employees that more money has been made available that can be claimed. Some contracts and investigations are also assessed differently or investigation deadlines are being extended.’

But that is only the beginning if it is up to the Works Council chairman. ‘There is still a lot to be gained – especially in terms of students being delegated to supporting tasks. We have a large number of student assistants and support staff who hardly have any work due to the corona crisis. On the other hand, there are employees who hardly get to work due to their domestic tasks. It may sound crazy, but why not deploy those staff who are currently out of work in the household to support another employee?’

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