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 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. I also think my background plays a certain part in this. In Indonesia it’s important to show people respect and not to impose your opinion or feelings on them. In negotiations for labour agreements I do the same: first I listen to what others have to say and then I submit the ideas of VAWO.
What do you do at VAWO?
Eighteen years ago I started as a lawyer where I worked fulltime on individual presentation of interests. I also adviced VAWO policymakers and supported management. I have since become director and I negotiate with employers for good labour agreements. Furthermore I’m a member of the Board of COPWO, that’s an institute who devides the employerscontribution for academic education among the different trade unions, and I’m a member of the Board of SoFoKles, an institute who subsidices projects on the academic job market and does several projects and researches.
What makes VAWO different from other trade unions?
We’re easy to reach. People are often surprised when they notice they’re directly speaking to a lawyer. But more importantly, between the Board of VAWO and the members, there’s just us. So people who come forward with ideas or new problems, find someone who listens to them and that suggestions they have easily reach the Board. So in comparison with large trade unions, members of VAWO can also exert more direct influence.
What are you most proud of in your work?
If I may, I will split that up in individual and collective presentation of interests. Concerning individual presentation, I find it very satifying to have really helped a member. Through the years I’ve noticed that many members who encounter problems at work feel left alone. It helps that we listen to their stories and offer realistic solutions. We always work hard to solve any problem the best we can, although it doesn’t always work out. Sometimes the law gets in the way or conflicts have risen too high. We do ofcourse in those cases try to get favourable arrangements. If I look at the collective presentation of interests I am proud that we have managed to get certain topics in labour agreements. I am also glad that together with other unions we are able to give VAWO a stage. Trade unions shoudn’t fight among each other but stand together. I think that it works pretty well.
For what will you fight?
When you look at VAWO, it’s tough. Protesting is not something people in the academic world easily turn to. And those who do stand up for improvement, are not always supported by masses. Understandable with an excessive workload, but as a trade union something you have to be considerate of. Personally I would fight for tolerance. After the Second World War The Netherlands had a reputation of being a tolerate country, but I feel it’s changing. A dangerous thing, because tolerance, or lack of tolerance, affects people in their being. Am I with my foreign background, for exemple, allowed to be here? If livelihood is not determined by you, but by others, it creates a feeling of vulnerability. So I would most definitily fight ( de barricade opgaan) for the ‘Land of Tolerance’.
How do we see you outside VAWO?
Walking with my dog, enjoying a good footballmatch. On television though. I used to play, but now I’m mostly a passionate follower of the sport. Furthermore I love to be among friends and family. Relationships with people are important to me. The friends I have, are truly friends for life.
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.