Newsletter from U4U : January 2017 (2) – n°53
After 5 years of campaigning, in October 2016 U4U finally managed to become recognised as a trade union at the European Parliament. This meant it could take part in the staff committee elections that took place late 2016 / early 2017. There were 10 lists competing. U4U won two seats and obtained 7.66% of the votes. None of the lists won more than 4 seats; a total that was achieved by only 3 lists. A further 3 lists obtained three seats. Four lists obtained two.
This result reflects a wide spread of votes among the electors, who wanted to refresh the trade union offer. Now that U4U has become representative, it can promote its idea of a unified and citizen-based trade unionism operating within different categories and institutions, and concerned about our working conditions with a view to transparent career prospects. U4U will also campaign for a resurgence of the union role in social dialogue.
U4U would like to thank those colleagues who supported it in this vote, and to congratulate our candidates for the work they accomplished in such a short time.
Our new Commissioner would like to meet with the unions active within the Commission. This positive approach is necessary to communicate and explain the social dialogue agenda.
The European construction is in crisis, and the Commission is damaged by this. We need to stick together. The best way to do this is firstly by intensifying social dialogue, and secondly by enabling staff to have a say in the decisions that concern them. The involvement of staff must be sought at all levels. Dialogue and participation must produce visible results for staff. This is a matter of shared responsibility, and U4U intends to shoulder its fair share.
We would also like to know where we stand in terms of staffing and budgetary prospects. We regret that the meeting for the mid-term review of the European budget has not been more fully exploited. A thorough analysis should also enable better exploitation of structural funds - whose counter-cyclical role is well known - in those countries experiencing difficulties. An analysis of the budgetary situation is necessary as it affects staff policy and, to a degree, the image of our institution.
In addition, the Commission must develop better communication about its activity as it has to be more active in promoting the European construction. Staff motivation is significantly enhanced by an assessment of the usefulness of its work. The institution has everything to gain by developing the creative capacities of its staff.
In spite of the present difficulties, the Commission must promote foreseeable career paths for all categories of staff. When it is properly organised, professional mobility can contribute to this. We advocate an information platform that would enable transfers through job swaps.
The social dialogue on GID for contract agents is nearing an end. After discussing how the 2014 Staff Regulations are implemented, initially at HR director level and then at the level of the HR Director-General, the unions met with Mrs Georgieva at the end of 2016, before her departure (see consultation documents).
The results are in the process of being evaluated by the unions. U4U believes that further progress can be made, particularly for agents on fixed-term contracts. The unions envisage a reconciliation procedure at College level.
With regard to colleagues on fixed-term contracts who perform permanent duties, U4U wants equal treatment on two central issues:
· all CAs must be able to take part in at least two competitions in 6 years.
· CAs with fixed-term contracts must have access to free posts, so that the Commission can keep hold of the best elements. The Commission must establish an internal database containing free posts in its central services, offices, representation bureaux, execution agencies and external services. In this way, CAs at the end of their contracts will have a reasonable chance of applying for and therefore finding a new job. In the long run, the same database should exist at interinstitutional level.
U4U does not want to increase the number of subjects to be submitted to the reconciliation procedure. In due course, it also wants to consider with staff the introduction of an improved regulatory framework for the use of non-permanent staff in the future.
Evaluation & Promotions: our pocket guide
The evaluation and promotion procedures for 2017 have begun.
We have published a guide to help you find your way through the labyrinth of procedures and to provide you with some basic advice. It is available to you!
The Commission has for the second time offered to meet the unions to discuss the new rules relating to underperformance. The new wording contains some improvements: accordingly, the period before possible redundancy for officials is now 5 years instead of the original 3; a joint committee is planned; the development of a remedial support plan with a support mechanism/guardian has been proposed; the possibility of a transfer/mobility is planned; etc.
Curiously, shortly after it was announced, the dialogue meeting was postponed indefinitely: perhaps the new Commissioner wants to make his mark?
U4U is advocating the introduction of preventive measures, avoiding staff being placed in an underperformance situation. Apart from periods of mobility, this must be put into context, especially for colleagues who have had significant careers, and must concern at least two spheres of competence.
We also believe that the 'cross' of underperformance must be approved by the director concerned and by the human resources director of the General-Directorate. The responsibility cannot be limited to compliance with procedures, etc. We will return to this issue.
The results of the 2016 opinion poll of Commission staff were published without fanfare on 18 October 2016. It is true that, despite a favourable presentation made by the consultant in the 2016 report, the reality is more complex and less positive. Although some DGs see their staff as being more "engaged", a large number of services are stagnating or declining. Above all, for most of the questions, you can see the positive support of the staff slipping back slowly but surely towards indifference or resignation. U4U suggests an analysis and lessons to be drawn from this disappointing survey for the Commission.
The opinion poll by and of the Commission's staff (called the "Speak Up Staff Survey 2016 – We listen, We care, We act") was released relatively discreetly by the Commission as the results remain average.
It looks as though the main indicators, such as "staff engagement", are tending to decline, although participation in the survey across the whole of the Commission rose significantly (from 40% in 2013 to 49% in 2014 and 51% in 2016). This increased participation, meaning that more than 20,000 colleagues were involved, is a good sign, and the DG HR must be congratulated for extending the consultation periods and encouraging staff to take part.
Glass half full or glass half empty? This analysis attempts to focus on the main results and read between the lines to bring out the basic trends. It should be noted, however, that the methodology of this survey remains subject to caution. On the one hand, some questions are vague and/or repetitive and new questions appear with little added value. On the other hand, the groups of questions in composite indicators are sometimes unconvincing. Finally, the 2016 report does not allow easy comparisons with 2013 and 2014, as it does not use consistent indicators from one year to the next, and new data appear or disappear without explanation. As a result, it is clear that the consultant responsible for the report tends to highlight the positive elements of the consultation and leave those aspects that are less positive for the Commission on the shelf, which unfortunately means that the report loses its position of impartiality.
The European Parliament uses the services of around 300 interpreter officials. Our colleagues play a crucial role in carrying out the missions of the European Parliament. Without them the communication and debates between the different actors would be impossible. Without them the institution would be unable to function.
The work of our colleagues has become much more taxing in recent times. With the European Parliament's role as legislator growing within the European construction, its debates concern more complex issues that are often very technical or specialised. The administration tends to underestimate the scope and consequences of these developments.
As a result, our interpreter colleagues have seen their working conditions deteriorate significantly, and the results of the social dialogue are disappointing. In this context, the administration recently unilaterally introduced extremely restrictive new rules governing the granting of leave to interpreter officials. These rules are presently the subject of an action brought by fifteen interpreters before the Luxembourg Court of Justice.
U4U has no wish to replace the interpreters' professional organisation or to interfere in the negotiations it is conducting on their behalf at this very moment. We simply want to let them know they have our full support. The administration also needs to know that we want a much stronger social dialogue.
Union for Unity supports social dialogue at EASA
U4U met the staff of EASA during a well-attended meeting on 2 November 2016. The aim of U4U was to:
On this basis, U4U will also meet the Local Staff Committee for a fruitful dialogue which helps U4U get better acquainted with the working conditions and practices in place at EASA in the context of its goals which feed the EU policies.
The main themes which emerged during the debate with the staff on 2 November 2016 are the following:
With these staff requests in mind, U4U wishes to enter into a meaningful and constructive dialogue with the administration of EASA in order to assess options for staff development in a constructive way.
La politique étrangère de l'UE, la stratégie globale: pourquoi ça me regarde?
Dialogue citoyen : Vendredi 3 février 2017 à 12h30 - A Luxembourg
Le 28 juin 2016, l'Union européenne s'est dotée d'une nouvelle stratégie pour la politique extérieure et de sécurité européenne, dite Stratégie globale, sur proposition de Mme Federica Mogherini, Haute représentante de l'Union pour les affaires étrangères et la politique de sécurité. Ce document est fondamental car il permet à l'Union européenne de parler et d'agir d'une seule voix sur la scène mondiale. Ensemble, les États membres ont nettement plus de poids que s’ils menaient chacun leur propre politique.
Mais est-on assez conscient de la force que cela représente? Un État membre isolé serait-il en mesure de préserver la paix ou d'assurer le respect des droits de l’homme et des libertés fondamentales?
La Représentation de la Commission européenne au Luxembourg a le plaisir de vous inviter à débattre avec Mme Nathalie Tocci, Conseillère spéciale de Mme Federica Mogherini, Haute représentante de l'Union pour les affaires étrangères et la politique de sécurité, Vice-présidente de la Commission européenne le
vendredi 3 février 2016 de 12h30 à
14h00 - Centre d'information européen - Maison de l'Union européenne
Les langues véhiculaires seront l'anglais et le français. Une collation sera servie avant l'événement à partir de 12h00
Inscription obligatoire avant le 30 janvier 2017 à l'adresse firstname.lastname@example.org ou par téléphone au +352 4301 37833
Training for EPSO competitions from your desktop, in English
3 sessions of 2hrs~2h30, depending on questions asked.
1- General Presentation & Verbal reasoning
For each session :
U4U is an active union, working on behalf of colleagues through its workplace meetings, not only in Brussels, and present in negotiations with the administration. We have an informative and up-to-date website, we publish regular newsletters, systematically translated into English, we defend you individually before the administration and before the Civil Service Tribunal.
All of that comes at a cost. Help us to meet it.
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équipe de rédaction : Bertrand Soret, Olivier Brunet, Philippe Kéraudren, Victor Juan Linares, Fabrice Andreone, Sylvie Vlandas, Kim Slama, Gérard Hanney, Sazan Pakalin, Agim Islamaj, Yves Dumont, Stéphane André, J.-P. Soyer