PhD students lose lawsuit against UMCG

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January 5, 2022 † Graduate students of Groningen students are not entitled to the same salary as dependent graduate students, the judge ruled. It also believes that these graduate students are in a favorable position when their labor law situation is confronted with foreign postmen and truck drivers.

Graduate students of Groningen students are not entitled to the same salary as dependent graduate students, the judge ruled. He also thinks these graduate students are in a thriving position relative to foreign postmen and truck drivers.

No fewer than 48 graduate students recently filed a lawsuit against the University Hospital of Groningen because they feel unequally treated to regular dependent PhD students who receive a salary from the University hospital. The judge disagrees with the doctoral students’ objections and claims that the doctoral students knew what they were saying yes to when they started this trial.

They are students

UMCG doctoral students follow an MD / PhD trajectory. This is a program where PhD students earn their doctorate and complete their medical training. That’s why they are also students, according to the UMCG.

Already in 2019, 58 of these PhD / PhD students opposed student status and the inequality of pay compared to other PhD students. Doctoral students believe they are first of all doctoral students, not students. This would mean that they are entitled to arrears, holidays and a pension fund membership. The amounts requested by the doctoral students concerned are between five thousand and fifteen thousand euros.

No productive work performance

According to the UMCG, however, this is not an employment contract because there is no productive work performance and it is not about wages. This is because PhD students receive a scholarship which is funded by the profiling fund.

The judge agrees and states that, given the agreement concluded, it is not an employment contract. Doctoral students have committed to an agreement of which education, training, supervision and facilitation form the basis that ultimately leads to the thesis and academic degree. The court also ruled that the PhD student scholarship cannot be regarded as remuneration.

Free choice of subject and no training obligation

Furthermore, PhD students are not required to teach and are free to choose the topic of their PhD trajectory. Therefore, there can be no question of a permanent employment contract. In addition, the doctoral students have entered into a training contract, says the judge.

The judge says graduate students are a bit annoying, given their labor law situation, and gives a number of examples of workers faring far worse than Groningen graduate students. “The applicants are in a thriving position with respect to other groups that have sought protection of labor law: foreign workers at a Groningen shipyard, foreign truck drivers at a transport company in Drenthe, parcel delivery men, people retired at a postal parcel sorting center and meal suppliers “.

The application of the PhD students is therefore rejected and the legal costs of € 3100 are at their expense.

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