ANPDennis Wiersma at a VVD congress, in the background VVD leader Mark Rutte
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 12:51
The four works councils of the civil servants of former Education Minister Dennis Wiersma want their managers to continue with measures to improve social safety, despite his departure. The VVD member resigned last Thursday after various complaints about his behavior.
“Minister Wiersma has now tendered his resignation, but for us as works councils that is no reason to deviate from the chosen path,” they say in a statement. “There is no question that we disapprove of all forms of unsafe and undesirable behavior by all people within our organization and that we stand for the professionalism of our colleagues.”
The whole situation has caused quite a stir, they say. Coordinating the joint response to questions from the NOS took several weeks and was not easy, the contact person explains. He does not want to be mentioned by name.
“Because we represent a broad group of colleagues who worked directly or indirectly with former minister Wiersma in different ways, in different frequency and to varying degrees. We cannot therefore reflect a complete account of everyone’s experiences in one message for all these colleagues.”
Experiences and signals
The works councils say they will continue to monitor social safety at the ministry and bring experiences and signals to the attention of management “just as has happened before”. In April, De Telegraaf reported for the first time that the minister “regularly went crazy and that he could ignite in frenzy”. A number of officials would have resigned for that reason.
In the House of Representatives, the first education debate without Wiersma started this morning with a statement by PVV MP Harm Beertema. He suspects that the minister’s resignation was initiated by education administrators who disagreed with Wiersma’s interventions. “And the media has lent itself to this character assassination.”
Beertema praised Wiersma for measures such as more permanent contracts for teachers and then walked away from the debate he called “a ritual”. CDA Member of Parliament René Peters also commented: “However you look at it, it is dramatic for people and also very ugly for education.”
Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf of Education (D66) said that he will miss Wiersma’s passion and commitment, especially for more equality of opportunity for children. “It is with mixed feelings that I see him here.” Last Friday, he said that he understood Wiersma’s decision because he “had too little room to be able to act credibly”.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday that Wiersma should not have resigned from him. “I didn’t ask him to leave.” Rutte is now looking for a successor.