The past few months at UGent there was a lot of displeasure on the budget reduction plan that was announced by the Board of Governors on January 11th 2022. The UGent trade unions have organized a number of actions against this plan, a.o. a manifestaton where some 800 UGent-colleagues went to the streets to protest against these budget cuts. After this manifestation the trade unions have reiterated their demand to start a social dialogue on possible alternatives for this budget reduction plan.
We have asked the rector to treat this question as first item on the agenda of the staff negotiations committee (PersoneelsOnderhandelingsComité – POC) of March 10th 2022. During this meeting the rector has made a proposal to effectively start this social dialogue. The next two months an intensive path of negotiations is taking place that hopefully will conclude in an overall social agreement. In the meantime university management will pause its reform plans, to give the talks every opportunity to succeed. The aim is to reach a formal agreement in May 2022, that will then be presented to the Board.
The UGent trade unions are pleased that this way the choice was made for constructive dialogue. We are convinced that sufficient social alternatives exist, and that there for the budget reductions at the expense of UGent employees are not needed. We will elaborate on these proposals during the social dialogue to come, and we hope that these will give result. To give this dialogue every opportunity, we suspend the current actions for the time being. The action that was planned on March 18th (Dies Natalis) is there for canceled, and the ongoing strike notice is also put on hold.
We thank all UGent-colleagues that have taken part in the actions with us to obtain a social alternative for the current plan. We are convinced that the this breakthrough was also made possible thanks to all of you. We will work hard in the next weeks to finalize this alternative in the talks between the trade unions and the representatives of management.