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Employer-employee disputes

  • General

    Until 31 December 2019, university employees were civil servants within the meaning of the Central and Local Government Personnel Act. Their relationship with their employer was governed by the General Administrative Law Act (Algemene wet bestuursrecht, Awb). Based on this law, employees could object to decisions of their employer that affected their legal position.

    On 1 January 2020, the Public Servants (Standardisation of Legal Status) Act (Wet normalisering rechtspositie ambtenaren, Wnra) entered into force. Under this new law, universities are no longer regarded as ‘government employers’. Consequently, the Awb no longer applies to the relationship between the UvA and its employees. Instead, employment contract law applies.

    As a (partial) alternative to the objection procedure under the Awb, the collective labour agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-NU) has provided for an independent dispute resolution procedure since 1 January 2020. This procedure has been implemented in the UvA Local Regulations on Disputes 2020. Under these regulations, employees can submit a dispute with the employer to the Arbitration Committee. Two important conditions must be met:

    1. Such disputes must relate to one of the subjects mentioned in the Arbitration Regulations.
    2. The employer (represented by the supervisor) and employee must first have attempted to resolve the dispute in mutual consultation.

    If both conditions are met, then in principle the employee may submit a request to the Arbitration Committee. For other regulations, such as those concerning deadlines, employees should consult the Arbitration Regulations.

  • Procedure

    The employee may submit a dispute to the Arbitration Committee through a request. The request must be submitted to the Executive Board. This can be done in writing or electronically. The request must be submitted within six weeks of the publication of the decision. The Executive Board forwards the request to the Arbitration Committee within three weeks and informs the employee and his or her supervisor accordingly.

    Usually, the dispute is handled at a hearing. The hearing is closed to the public. During this hearing, both employee and employer are given the opportunity to explain their position. A report of the hearing is drawn up.

    The Arbitration Committee issues an advice to the Executive Board within eight weeks of receiving the employee’s request. The Executive Board decides on the employee’s request within four weeks of receiving the advice of the Arbitration Committee. It sends the decision in writing or electronically to both the employee and employer.

    The decision of the Executive Board brings the procedure to an end. Unlike under the Awb (which applied until 1 January 2020), there is no possibility of appeal.

  • Composition of the UvA Arbitration Committee

    Members nominated by the employees’ organisations:

    • M.P. Terpstra LLM
    • Dr M. Hogenbirk (deputy)

    Members nominated by the employer:

    • F.Y. van Arnhem-Chau LLM
    • J.L. Dijkstra LLM
    • J.B. Groot Antink LLM

    Chair by joint nomination:

    • E. Kouwenhoven LLM
      appointed as chair for the period from 1 March 2021 until 28 February 2022.
    • T.F. Hesselink LLM
      appointed as deputy chair for the period from 1 March 2021 until 28 February 2025 and as chair for the period from 1 March 2022 until 28 February 2025.

    Ms Kouwenhoven and Ms Hesselink are both judges at the District Court of The Hague.

    The members have all been appointed for the period from 1 March 2021 until 28 February 2025.

  • More information

    Further information about the CAO-NU and other regulations applicable to the legal position of UvA employees can be found on the employee website.

  • Address

    To submit a dispute to the Arbitration Committee, employees must send a request to:

    • University of Amsterdam
      Executive Board
      attn Legal Affairs
      PO Box 19268
      1000 GG Amsterdam
  • Other contact details

    Employees with questions may contact: