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News from the works councils (September 2022)

Just before everybody left for their summer holidays, a change was made on the dossier Development Operations NWO-I: GOR NWO-I (group works council NWO-I) and the Executive Board representative agreed to discuss a separate request for advice for each point for improvement (domain). To prepare the responses to the first five requests for advice, GOR NWO-I will organise a work conference in September with delegations from the works councils of the institutes and the office. GOR NWO-I will receive the remaining four requests for advice in October. The Executive Board representative and GOR NWO-I will strive to complete the process before the Christmas holidays. COR NWO (Central Works Council of NWO) shared its vision about the possible options for the governance of NWO-I with the Executive Board representative.

News from GOR NWO-I

Developing operations NWO-I: where do we stand now?

On 23 January 2022, GOR NWO-I received a request for advice for the Development Operations NWO-I. In response to this, GOR NWO-I consulted with the Executive Board representative and held various work meetings supervised by an external adviser. The objective of GOR NWO-I is a well-functioning institute organisation in which the core process – science – is supported by a well-balanced, service-providing process. To achieve this, it must be clear to all parties how the responsibilities and competencies are allocated, and all stakeholders must support the new approach.
On 20 May, GOR NWO-I issued a negative advice about the total request for advice, among other things because of the lack of a social policy for the intended changes.
After consultation between GOR NWO-I and the Executive Board representative, an agreement was subsequently reached on 20 June. For each domain of the operations, GOR NWO-I will receive a separate request for advice. In addition, the social policy for this Development Operations has been agreed upon. The most important elements of this are: no compulsory redundancies and no compulsory change of the place of employments, vacancies will be l published internally first, and NWO-I colleagues will retain their salary and salary perspective in the case of redeployment. The proposals for improvements for each domain will be submitted to GOR NWO-I in two phases. After the completion of these request for advice trajectories, another request for advice (Organisation plan NWO-I office) will follow.

Hybrid working

Many NWO-I colleagues have now embraced hybrid working, based on the pilot policy agreed upon with GOR NWO-I. It should be noted that local works councils must be involved if an institute or the office wants to further elaborate upon this policy. The pilot will be evaluated at the end of this year.

News from COR NWO

Governance NWO-I

The NWO-I governance has been the subject of discussion for some time. The Executive Board representative obtained external advice and COR NWO was also involved in this. The contours of the intended governance are becoming increasingly clear and COR NWO has shared its vision about the possible options with the Executive Board representative. Amongst other things, this happened during an in-depth, informal session between a delegation from COR NWO and Executive Board members Marcel Levi and Caroline Visser, and director of operations NWO-I/ad-interim director of NWO-I Jan van der Boon. A final request for advice from the Board is now expected.

Implementing Regulations

At present, restrictions for travelling with public transport and working at the office or institute no longer apply, and the next logical step is to carry through the Implementation Regulations 2020-2022. The remunerations for commuting and business travel have now been changed. COR NWO received the request to scrap Article 2, para 3 from Implementing Regulation 1. This paragraph describes the remuneration employees are entitled to for the kilometres they travel between their home address and the departure point for public transport. COR NWO did not approve this request because the need for it, and the number of employees that would be affected by this, were not clear enough. We offered the Executive Board representative the suggestion to discuss the article during the negotiations about the Implementing Regulations 2023 and beyond. The representative agreed with this request. Pending the negotiations, it has been agreed to suspend the implementation of the article until 31 December 2022.

General state of affairs

On Thursday 9 June, COR NWO discussed the general state of affairs with the Executive Board representative. Besides Caroline Visser, Marcel Levi and Jan van der Boon also joined the meeting. That enabled us to discuss both the NWO umbrella organisation and the institutes organisation. The subjects considered were: governance NWO-I (see above), the new NWO strategy and initiatives for a new climate institute and an institute for data infrastructure, storage and management. The discussion about these last two items was partly inspired by the first advisory report from the Permanent Committee on National Institutes (PCNI).

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