Negotiations for an agreement on working hours for academic staff

The union representatives and the management have been negotiating a new agreement on working hours for academic staff at the Faculty of Arts. These negotiations have taken quite a long time. But they have been conducted in a positive spirit, and a great number of issues have been discussed along the way.

(Revised 4 January 2023)
The discussions have focused in particular on ensuring that the staff workload is distributed as fairly as possible. One of the things that has become apparent is that although the Vipomatic system is a useful tool for individual members of staff, as well as providing a good overview of total working hours at the faculty, the way the system is used at the moment does not provide a specialised overview of working hours for specific groups of staff and functions across the three schools.

Both parties wanted to complete these negotiations before the summer holiday. And before the holiday they did reach agreement on a range of specific improvements and adjustments of the standard rates. However, they did not manage to adjust the wording of the agreement to reflect these changes. The autumn teaching will probably be registered before the final wording of the agreement is available, so the dean has proposed (with the support of staff representatives) that the improvements in standard rates should be implemented in the autumn semester to benefit staff immediately.

As a result, the current agreement from 2017 will be extended for the rest of the year until 31 December 2022, but a range of changes will be implemented immediately on 1 September 2022. (It was agreed at the negotiation meeting on 22 December that the current agreement, including the agreed changes, will apply until a new agreement is signed. This is expected to happen at the end of January 2023.)

The current agreement will be improved as a whole, the most significant changes being as follows:

  • 20 hours will be allocated for the onboarding of new colleagues
  • the number of hours allocated to tasks which do not have a standard rate will increase from 20 to 25 per semester
  • the time allocated to all written assignments will increase to 6 minutes per page
  • research leave can be granted once every seventh semester
  • the number of working hours will be reset when staff transition from an assistant professorship to an associate professorship, or from a teaching assistant professorship to a teaching associate professorship

In order to find the hours needed to make these improvements, the number of hours allocated to the reading of Master’s theses will be reduced from 10 to 7, and no hours will be allocated to both thesis supervision and PhD supervision for PhD students enrolled on the 4+4 scheme.

Dean Johnny Laursen:

I’m delighted that we’ve been able to reach an agreement containing improvements for all academic staff, and that we have now defined the option of taking research leave in the agreement. The next task facing us involves reducing the total time we spend on teaching activities in order to provide financial cover for the improvements in standard rates.

Joint union representative Lars Bo Gundersen:

The negotiations for a new agreement on working hours have been difficult, but we have also learned a lot. I look forward to continuing this task alongside the other negotiators after the holiday, and hope we also manage to reach agreement on a sensible framework for these changes – and to finalise a new agreement.