Many people at the university don’t even know that LO exists, let alone what we do. But when I see a colleague who is pleased with an appointment we’ve made, I do feel proud.
What characterizes you?
I have always remained an idealist. It all started as a child with a story by Roald Dahl about a special device with which you could hear plants scream when they were pruned. I realized then that plants obviously have no voice of and became engaged with nature. In fact, I still think that there should be a trade union for working animals. And that idealism has spread to the social field over the years.
When did you first learn about VAWO?
That's actually a rather funny story. Ceren Pekdemir, with whom I take place in the Local Consultation (LO) of Maastricht University, told me years ago that VAWO was looking for someone for LO. At the time she couldn't find time to do that herself, but she did think it was something for me. She was absolutely right and as a new VAWO member I took my place in the LO. So a few years later, when my colleague said goodbye, I didn't have to think twice about who would be extremely suitable to replace him. And now Ceren and I represent VAWO in Maastricht.
How long have you been in LO?
Five years already, since 2014 and I like it. Here there is room for the activist side of me. It's always dynamic and there are plenty of important topics. Although LO involves quite a lot of work, it doesn't feel like extra work at all. On the contrary, it gives me satisfaction that I can contribute to a better work situation for all employees.
Why is VAWO important to you?
To ensure that common problems can be solved together. That you can even do work for people who aren’t a member. For me personally, that's just solidarity: ensuring the best possible personnel policy that benefits everyone. Having said that, it would be nice if more people were to appreciate solidarity, because I am sorry to see how individualistic we all have become. I so often see someone trying to solve a problem independently, when it is often not an individual problem at all. At university, too, we seem to have forgotten to stand togehter, and that's something I'm concerned about.
What are you most proud of in your work?
It's true that behind the scenes I can do so much for colleagues. I'm glad that the Executive Board is seriously listening to us. Of course, we don't always agree, but I think we generally work well together to take things to the next level, and we often succeed in doing so. I particularly like the fact that we have a real effect in LO. Many people at the university don't even know that LO exists, let alone what we do. But when I see a colleague who is pleased with an appointment we've made, I do feel proud.
What will you fight for?
I love the barricade! And especially climate demonstrations. I feel connected with all those young people who now stand up for the climate. But although I love to go up the barricade, I don't like crowds and that often prevents me from physically going up the barricades. Two years ago, together with more than 50,000 others, I made a ninety-kilometer human chain as a protest against the nuclear power station in Tihange, Belgium. That was perfect for someone who doesn't like crowds. In fact, there are so many reasons why we all should go up the barricade together. Because people have become much more egocentric, we have actually forgotten that the public good can only be carried by solidarity and by working together. You can see that, as a result of individualism, public achievements are eroding: in education, health care, the legal system, in fact all public services. We are moving into the American direction. There you see rich philanthropists pumping money into public causes. That is noble, but I think it is more important that taxes are paid, so that a democratic decision can be made as to what happens to that money.
How do we see you outside VAWO?
Literally outside. A lot outside! Canoeing, running in the woods, walking, cycling, gardening, as long as it is outside. I also like to play the saxophone with a jazz big band. Unfortunately this is currently put aside as my nearly one year old son doesn't appreciate the sound.
Within my VAWO work at the work I have done to limit the temporary appointments. I put a great deal of time and energy into this, but it did have an effect: based on my figures, VAWO was able to limit the number of temporary appointments in the cao.
I am a straight forward kind of guy. I am also more steady than fast. Both my grandfathers were tug masters. They had to lead big ships with their small boats into the harbor. That requires agility and patience and apparently I got something out of it. Things don’t go fast for me, but I do get where I need to go.
I think I always look for nuance. So when someone says something, I first wonder what the other side of that story is. Perhaps that causes some people to think I may be a little reserved, but what I say isn’t necessarily the same as what someone else experiences. I think it’s important to take this into account.