On Collective Bargaining

UPDATE 21 Aug 2016: The Erasmus Mundus contract for this programme is incredibly disempowering. If you get into any sort of trial with the university, you are dropped from your scholarship and programme. You might think this is not important. But, consider this: at least one of the universities trusts plagiarism-checking software so much that they expelled one of my cohort without double-checking the paper with their own brains. There was no possibility of appeal within the university, the student unions are weak and powerless, and there is no other avenue for help. I will try to write more about this and related matters in future. It is complicated.

The programme I am in is young. So the coordinators have not realised a few important things. Like the importance of collective power. We first saw this when they talked to Bank Austria to give us better banking rates.

Then they forgot totally about it when it came to housing, both in Austria and Denmark. So, we all had to pay rent for 6 months in Vienna and Krems in Austria even though many of us weren't going to stay here for more than that period of time.

Now, those of us who accepted offers from the university or the city of Aalborg in Denmark have to pay the rent for 6 months again. Once again, most of us won't stay there that long.

By comparison, another Erasmus Mundus programme doesn't need to do that in their next semester in Finland.

So, if your administrators/coordinators forget that you have bargaining power and economies of scale because of strength in numbers, remind them. Otherwise, you'll get exploited by heartless people in heartless systems like we were.

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