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Negotiating parties reach agreement on Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities

On 28 March 2017, the VSNU and the four employees’ organisations reached a negotiation settlement on the new CAO (Collective Labour Agreement) for Dutch Universities for 2016-2017. After a long negotiating process, there is now an agreement with which both universities and employees’ organisations are satisfied. According to VSNU chairman Karl Dittrich, “This will involve a qualitative investment being made in employees of the universities, across the board.”


The CAO will be effective until 1 July 2017. The CAO parties will be meeting again soon to discuss follow-up arrangements. The most important arrangements on which agreement has been reached are the following:


•          Salaries will be structurally increased by 1.4% as of 1 January 2017. In addition, the salary increase of 0.8% already paid in 2016 will be converted into a structural salary increase.

•          The young employees’ pay scales will be structurally increased by 5.0% as of 1 January 2017. The young employees’ salary scale for 21-year-olds will be withdrawn as of 1 July 2017, so that the normal salary scales will apply for them.

•          Universities and employee organisations place great importance on reducing the pressure of work on employees. It has been agreed that each university will draw up a plan of action to that effect before the end of the year.

•          As of 1 January 2018, public universities will pay the transition compensation upon termination of an employment contract, as the special universities are already doing. In this context, cumulation of transition compensation and the subsequent BWNU benefit on termination of employment on economic grounds is ruled out.

•          This agreement also includes an arrangement which will compensate for the duration and accrual of the third WW year, the costs of which will be borne by the employer. 

•          A sectoral arrangement for ancillary activities has also been adopted, with the objective of optimising transparency in this context.


The negotiation settlement has yet to be submitted to the various groups represented by the VSNU and employees’ organisations. The parties will determine, by 15 May 2017 at the latest, whether this settlement can be converted into a definitive CAO.


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Ruben Puylaert


+316 13 86 10 69

Gijs Kooistra

Deputy spokesperson

+316 82 05 72 66