A call about the new CAO
Almost two months have passed since the negotiation agreement was reached on the new CAO. Employers and unions have now signed there are still some unanswered questions. We are curious to know the latest status, so we got together on Teams with our HRM Director Heleen Cocu.
Heleen, the negotiation agreement has been converted into a definitive CAO agreement, and we’re now waiting for the definitive text. Why are all these steps necessary?
Once the agreement has been signed, it seems as we’re there, but this is actually when the major work is just beginning. The editorial committee set up by the parties to the collective agreement starts writing, works out the details of the agreement in principle and agrees the texts with all parties involved. When the text of the CAO has been finalised, we can then look at the impact for individual members of staff and answer all the questions. Unfortunately, this process takes quite some time, because every situation is different. Our aim is to make sure that everything is done accurately and in good harmony.
So, at the moment you can only wait and see?
Not quite; we are already preparing the implementation of the CAO. The HRM advisers are identifying who has what type of contract and when members of staff started their employment. Then, once the CAO text is finished, we can take rapid action. We will be proactively contacting members of staff for whom there are employment law consequences. There are parts of the agreement that we can already implement, such as processing the new salary table and paying the one-off allowance in September. Agreements have also been made about a daily allowance for working from home, an internet allowance and a travel allowance. Our team is looking into how we can make this happen, on the basis that it is fairly implemented and administratively simple We will then put it to our Local Consultative Body.
What is this kind of CAO process like for an HRM department?
HRM is only informed once an agreement has been reached; we are not in on the negotiations. We do ask questions and pass on signals. Since the negotiation agreement was announced, we have been gathering questions from members of staff that we cannot answer ourselves and – like other universities – we pass them on to the VSNU. They use the questions as input for the writing process that is now taking place. In terms of timing, it is administratively an extra burden that this part of the process takes place in the summer holiday period. You can be sure that we are doing our absolute best to implement everything correctly and on time, including when the final text is ready. If anything is unclear, talk it through with your manager; don’t keep brooding on it. If you and your manager can’t resolve it, we are also available for advice.
Do you have any tips for colleagues?
The regular discussions with your manager become even more important in the context of permanent contracts. You can take responsibility and initiative yourself; make agreements about what is expected and ask for feedback. As well as the CAO, the organisation is also working on the strategic plan, with its key themes of social safety, recognition and appreciation, pressure of work and leadership. We are aiming to create a balance between good employment practices, high quality research and education, healthy operational management and also the new CAO that we have to comply with. Let us all be aware that we have a role in creating a positive and inclusive work climate. If there is an issue that concerns you, or if you think there is something that can be done better, discuss it with your manager or other colleagues. Share your ideas. Be solution oriented and focus on the future, and engage on an equal footing in the discussion about how together we can make a great university.
There is a lot happening within Leiden University. The websites are filled with news on a daily basis. In the section 'A call about' we ask one of our employees to tell us more about a relevant and topical subject within the university. The answers give you more insight into the facts, but above all give you more personal background information. What was fun or frustrating? What was remarkable? What was good and what was bad? You can read all about it in 'A call about'.