At UGent too there is an urgent need for staff and students to go into action!

Submitted by ACOD UGent on ma, 11/07/2022 - 19:04

Enough is enough with all the absurd and antisocial decisions by university management

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On Friday October 2022 the Management Board has decided to increase the price of the meals in the student resto’s and cafeteria’s by half for UGent staff, starting January 1st 2023

Because of this a warm meal for UGent staff will cost at least 5,60 euro, and usually a lot more. E.g. for spaghetti bolognese and for vol-au-vent you will have to pay well over 7 euro, the beef stew goes to almost 8,20 euro, and for shrimp croquettes you well have to put down 9 euro! The same goes for sandwiches: you will not get any below 3,70 euro, and they can go up to more than 5 euro. E.g. as UGent staff in a UGent cafeteria you will have to pay almost 4,20 euro for a simple sandwich with cheese, and a sandwich maison will go over 4,60 euro.

That UGent staff can get a meal at the same prices as UGent students in the UGent resto’s and cafeteria’s is part of the labour conditions agreed upon in the past. University management is changing these conditions unilateraly without even negotiating with the trade unions on this specific linear increase in prices. In the so called “core task document” of earlier this year UGent still mentioned possibilities for social corrections, but in this illegally taken decision no mention any more of this!

ACOD resists this antisocial, and budgetary useless measure! 

At UGent to the strongest shoulders should carry the heaviest burdens. These are not the individual staff members and students, nor the many small budgets of budget holders who barely have enough means to conduct their research activities, but these are the limited number of very large “kassen” where millions are amassing year after year!

And this is not the only attack by the Board and by the rectoral team on the staff and students of our university

Below you can find a selection of recently taken or shortly to be taken decisions

Doubling the registration fees for PhD-researchers

If it would depend only on UGent-management PhD-researchers will soon pay double as much registration fees (= proposal for the board of governors on November 10th 2022). At the same time among them are still some PhD-researchers – mainly from abroad – who have an unacceptably low income (sometimes even not the amount “recommended” by UGent of 1.350 euro per month, who in reality are being exploited in order to increase the income of the UGent budgets (“kassen”) of some budget holders.

Sale out of student housing

Some student homes are being given in long lease to the private sector, and being hired back afterwards (proposal for the board of governors on November 10th 2022), but it is already clear that this is the intended plan for all of UGent's student housing. It is claimed that this will result in lower expenses in the short term, but the predictable heavier financial consequences on longer term have not even been calculated by management. Apart from this the higher quality levels for student housing that UGent had introduced are simply being dismissed, and affordable housing rental prices are coming under pressure.

UGent participation model in danger

The participation model of UGent is being hollowed out and decisions are being passed on to a “management committee” where representatives from the different categories of the UGent community are no longer welcome.  On September 9th 2022 the board of governors has decided to ask the Flemish Government to cancel the current "Bestuurscollege", composed of representatives of the UGent community, and to enable that such a management committee can be established.

The selective interpretation of privacy laws (GDPR) by university management

University management uses privacy legislation (GDPR) as an excuse to restrict voices that are critical for university policy (as with the “core task note” earlier this year), and to block mailing lists used by elected representatives and trade union organizations. At the same time there seems to be no privacy-issue at all when rectoral candidates are e-mailing their election propaganda. 

Transparancy and participation are being replaced by an atmosphere of secrecy and intimidation

A change of UGent-regulations on confidential informaion has been prepared, enabling that any document at any time can be considered “confidential”, even without any legal basis. E.g. to keep an intended policy decision (as was the “core task note”) hidden as long as possible when management is afraid of criticism or lack of support. It is as yet unclear when this change will take effect, but management seems intended on introducing this as soon as possible (this year). Broad participation in establishing UGent policy and looking for broad support for future policy are thus being dismissed, and replaced by an atmosphere of distrust and secrecy, and intimidating threats of disciplinary prosecution. 

During negotiations management shows less and less open to reason and sound argumentation

Looking for solutions is less and less relevant. “We remain with our proposal” is more and more the answer to be expected.

Only if let let our voice be heard together with all staff and students, repeatedly and ever louder, we can put a stop to this antisocial policy and make our UGent back into a social and participative university we can be proud of.

Therefor we  call for everyone to join ACOD and go into action!

Do not forget to register for our newsletter through this link so we can keep yo informed of future actions!