The Link - Le Lien
U4U Bulletin - Bulletin de U4U
We still haven't reached a quorum. To obtain a quorum we need a further 4 000 votes, and almost 11 000 colleagues have not yet voted.
The elections have been extended from 28 October to 13 November inclusive, which now leaves us facing two challenges.
The first challenge is to obtain more than just a quorum, as otherwise we will be collectively weakened, unable to properly champion staff interests before the Commission's management and to parry the attacks that will inevitably come from the Council and the Member States. The drive to build Europe is faltering, and there has been a souring from within of the European civil service, where precariousness and discrimination are now rife. In such a climate, only a united and strong civil service will be able to face the difficulties that lie just around the corner. It goes without saying that we have to obtain a quorum, but we must do more than that: we have to secure many more votes to send a clear signal to our leaders that staff care about Europe and the quality of the civil service that Europe needs.
The second challenge is to decide who to vote for. In the present situation, voting for U4U is the only constructive choice, for several reasons:
1. U4U is the only union whose action is motivated directly by a determination to secure the future of the European project. We work towards this aim in a variety of ways: by means of reflection groups, leading to articles that are published in the review Graspe, by organising training courses and seminars on issues of European interest, right through to articulating legitimate staff demands, that are also beneficial for the Institution as a whole, as acting in the interests of staff is in the interests of the Commission. Europe is our raison d’être.
2. U4U is fighting for staff unity, striving to create a bond of solidarity between all staff categories, irrespective of age and whether they pre- or postdate the 2004 reform. U4U is achieving this by making practical proposals to address inequalities and the difficulties faced by staff whose employment is under threat, specifically by asking for internal reclassification competitions to be held both for Contract Agents and Temporary Agents as well as for AST and AD. We also ask that AST9 and AD12 should have an easier access to end-of-career grades. Division weakens us - 'United we stand - divided we fall'!
3. U4U does not limit its action to solely defending our salaries, pensions and promotions. U4U was the only union to oppose changes to the staff regulations during the 2014 reform, and U4U is currently the only union that is opposing Commissioner OETTINGER's proposal of introducing an additional actual pension fund which, if the idea were to be accepted, would lead to a further reform of the staff regulations and to a change of our pension fund. The lessons learnt from the 2004 and 2014 reforms are that agreeing to changes to one chapter of the staff regulations inevitably leads to a worsening of other aspects of staff working conditions. In the current climate, agreeing to make changes to the staff regulations would be tantamount to opening Pandora's box and a grave mistake.
4. U4U is striving to bring about active and participatory staff careers so as to change the way our professional careers are managed from recruitment to retirement, including by means of training and exchanges with other institutions. Careers must be attractive and remain a source of motivation. The administration must know where talents lie and how to how to best deploy those skills to achieve its objectives. The most fundamental measure of wellbeing at work is the quality of our work and its recognition.
5. U4U has, since its inception, worked tirelessly and issued proposals to promote the education provided to our children in the nurseries, after-school care and European schools. For U4U, the entire European educational project is not just about providing a useful service to staff - thus contributing to the attractiveness of the European civil service - but also encouraging us to live together in a manner that is mutually enriching and grounding our young people in their identity as European citizens. To know that your children are being educated under the aegis of a laudable project is a source of serenity and a considerable asset for the society of the future.
6. U4U stands for improved staff representation and constructive dialogue between staff and management in order to increase the transparency of the unions. U4U is in favour of a single, smaller but more professional staff committee, elected at the same time across all parts of the Commission. U4U is of the opinion that more issues should be covered by social dialogue, such as for example, questions of such fundamental importance as the budget. Constructive dialogue between staff and management must be possible throughout the Commission, at all levels, in all DGs and sites, and this dialogue must start at the grass roots and not be limited to discussions with DG HR. Constructive social dialogue is the mark of an organisation whose administration is based on the values of mutual respect and partnership.
List No 2 put forward by U4U represents strong, coherent and comprehensive union protection for all staff, irrespective of category and seniority.
VOTE FOR LIST 2 to lend your support to this approach
Liste U4U n°2 List U4U #2
During your meeting with the trade unions, you spoke against the development of insecure positions at the Commission.
These insecure positions bring inequality and discrimination for staff. For the institution, this causes serious drawbacks in terms of turnover, loss of expertise, management costs for the administration and worsening atmosphere within the services.
Your stance in favour of contract staff is courageous. It was greatly appreciated. It brought a great deal of hope.
Since its creation, U4U has made demands for contract staff that take account of the interests of both staff and the institution, which are mutually inseparable. You will find as an attachment a working document, prepared in collaboration with staff, proposing significant improvements that do not require the opening of the Staff Regulations, which would undoubtedly constitute a threat to the European Civil Service and the European construction.
U4U is ready to meet you to present the contents of this document. The current electoral period in Brussels does not necessarily favour responsible trade unions that take account of the interests of the services in their approach, as our primary duty is to ensure that the institution fulfils its missions. This constructive approach, which we are developing with staff, must also be supported by the institution.
I am counting on a positive response to my request for dialogue.
In the meantime, Mr
President, please accept the assurances of my highest consideration.
Georges Vlandas, President
The interpreters at the European Parliament went on strike in early June 2018 after the failure of negotiations with the Secretary General on their working conditions, which had been made tougher and unilaterally imposed. In response to this strike, the Parliament’s Administration imposed a wholesale requisition of the interpreters, effectively preventing them from going on strike.
Faced with the denial of social dialogue constituted by the refusal to consider the interpreters’ reasonable proposals and with the violation of the right to strike constituted by the wholesale requisitions, the interpreters took the case to the Court of Justice for breach of the right to strike and large-scale requisitions.
From the start of the action, U4U actively and publicly supported the interpreters’ position. U4U wrote to MEPs: seven of them took a stance in their favour. U4U questioned the Secretary-General on the lack of social dialogue and wrote to President Tajani to challenge the requisitions when they took place and to defend the MEPs when sanctions were imposed against them.
The interpreters’ strike in the summer was a strike that concerned everyone: translators, security staff and AST grades on compulsory transfer. The deterioration in the working conditions of a category of staff or occupation is not a matter that only concerns those directly involved: it is relevant to all of us, as tomorrow it will be our categories or occupations that are affected. It is essential that we remain unified, in particular in our power relationship with the Administration, if we want to fight its abuses and breaches of the law.
The same goes for the interpreters’ petition to the Court, seeking a ruling on the massive requisitions. This legal action also concerns us all. The right to strike is enshrined in the Treaties and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the massive requisitions are illegal. They amount to a violation of this right and deprive workers of their means of defence. This legal action is our fight, our common cause. If the interpreters lose, we all lose, if they win, we all win.
Today, U4U is supporting the interpreters’ action before the Court. What could be more important than defending our hard-won rights? Especially in an Institution that should, in all respects, be setting an example, as it performs one of democracy’s most valued functions, the representation of European citizens, which of course includes us.
U4U invites all trade unions to support the interpreters’ legal action, as they are fighting to protect our rights now and in the future, a future that has become increasingly unpredictable. And if further support is needed, we will be there to give it, as this is the true meaning of our mission.
U4U would like to share with you the latest information on the revision of the GA parental contribution as adopted at the last meeting of the relevant committee (COCEPE - Joint Management Committee of the Early Childhood Centre), which is due to be applied from January 2019.
Outdoor child care (GA) in brief
U4U attaches great importance to the social mission of outdoor child care (GA) managed by the Early Childhood Centre of the OIB. This involves meeting the needs of parents whose annual leave does not cover the number of days on which schools are closed, so as to enable them to carry out their professional activities.
Outdoor child care is available to children aged 4 to 14 during the Easter and summer holidays from 08.00 to 18.00 from Monday to Thursday and 08.00 to 17.30 on Fridays. This also covers the holiday weeks of the Belgian and European Schools. The Overijse site (CIE Overijse) was originally planned as the only site for GA, with a capacity of around 350 children, with bus transport available from/to Wilson or Beaulieu.
Although the CIE Overijse was able to accommodate all the children up to 2015, the demand for GA places increased drastically from 2016, especially for the weeks when the European Schools are on holiday and the Belgian schools are not. During the Easter and summer holidays of the Belgian schools, there are certain alternatives available on the Belgian market, although they do not match up to the conditions offered by the OIB at the GA. To meet the demand fully and not have a waiting list for GA, the OIB adjusted the number of GA places offered by opening additional sites like Wilson, Palmerston and/or Beaulieu. At the same time, the OIB has noted a GA absenteeism rate of up to 20% at some sites and during certain weeks.
GA currently costs parents EUR 56.45 per child per week, which amounts to 11.29 EUR/day/child. Apart from a low indexation adjustment made periodically, the price of GA has remained stable for many years. As a result, the parental contribution only covers 12.5% of the cost of caring for a child, which is about 25% below the price charged by after-school child care centres and crèches / kindergartens.
Initial proposal from the OIB
Following the request by the BUDG and to reduce absenteeism, the OIB re-examined the parental contribution due to apply from 2019. In April, the OIB suggested increasing the weekly cost per child from EUR 56.45 to EUR 125, an increase of 130% (i.e. 2.3 times the current price) from January 2019. The parental contribution would then cover almost 30% of the cost of caring for one child.
Although U4U was not, on the face of it, opposed to the revision of the parental contribution, the increase proposed by the OIB seemed excessive as the new amount would act as a deterrent to families, particularly those on lower incomes. A family with 2 children would be paying EUR 1,000 for GA care for the month of July, as opposed to around EUR 450, regardless of their income. This could call into question the GA’s social mission. U4U is therefore strongly opposed to the OIB proposal of a parental contribution of 25 EUR/day/child and has worked to ensure that the OIB applies at the very least a banded rate, set in accordance with the family’s monthly income and the number of dependent children, as is already the case for the Leisure Centre/GA in Luxembourg. In order to limit the costs related to the management of enrolments as much as possible, U4U suggested applying the same scale as that used for the Full-day child care centres (Garderies Longues Journées - GLJ) or the After school child care centres (Garderies Post Scolaires - GPS).
In addition, in regard to absenteeism, U4U believed that the desired effect would not be achieved. According to U4U, although increasing the parental contribution for GA will undoubtedly reduce the number of applications, it will probably not affect the absence rate. If children are absent, it is more likely to be due to the fact that:
- children must be enrolled for a full week, even if the care is only needed for a few days,
- unlike the Full-day child care centres, parents are not able to choose the location at the time of enrolment, and the site allocated is only made known to parents after the application has been approved.
- It is not possible to cancel the enrolment less than 5 weeks, and sometimes 10 weeks, before the start date of the GA care.
U4U has therefore suggested allowing parents to indicate a preference of GA site if the CIE Overijse is unable to accommodate all the applications, or at least giving them the option of cancelling their place free of charge when they have been informed of the location. U4U also notes that the OIB states that it is not possible change to daily enrolment as this would call the GA’s educational project into question.
New GA prices as adopted at the last COCEPE meeting – applicable from January 2019
U4U welcomes the fact that the OIB has listened to the concerns of staff representatives and the Parents Association (PA) and has modified its proposal as follows:
- Two rates will be applied from January 2019: a reduced rate and a standard rate;
- REDUCED RATE
i. The reduced rate will be applied to families that meet the income conditions per dependent child in categories I, II and III of the table used for the Brussels GPS.
ii. The reduced rate will correspond to the current amount indexed annually according to the provisions of the current GA regulations, i.e. 11.50 EUR/day/child in 2019 and 12 EUR/day/child in 2020;
- STANDARD RATE
i. In 2019, the parental contribution will be 18 EUR/day/child;
ii. In 2020, the parental contribution will rise to 25 EUR/day/child;
- The pricing will be applied automatically to those families whose children are already enrolled in GPS. For the others, the parents will have to submit evidence of income when applying for enrolment if they wish to benefit from the reduced rate;
- Parents will be notified of the site allocated when the place is confirmed, at which point they may accept or refuse the place within the stated time limit;
- The time limit for cancellation without cost will be extended.
U4U notes with regret that the OIB was late in informing staff representatives that it wanted to extend the calculation of the parental contribution to Full-day child care centres (GLJ), although this would only concern children who are not enrolled in GPS on a full-time basis, as the cost of GLJ is already included in the contribution asked for full-time GPS.
Future U4U demands
To offer a GA capacity that meets the present and future needs of parents, U4U intends to make the following demands:
1. Identify GA needs for each site and age group
Requirements should be planned by the OIB by site and age group to anticipate the needs for the year in terms of GA/GLJ places and in terms of the supervisory staff, thus limiting the cost required for temporary staff.
2. Use all available infrastructure to accommodate the GA
U4U urges the OIB to continue to open new sites in addition to the CIE Overijse in order to offer places to all those who apply and avoid the need for a waiting list.
3. Make GA available on all days when the Schools are closed
This year, for the first time, the OIB did not open the GA centre on 3 and 4 September, leaving numerous parents without a child care solution for their children. Although the Belgian Schools had reopened on 3 September, the European Schools did not resume until 5 September. There was therefore no alternative child care option on the Belgian market. The OIB response to this was that parents could take leave or telework days as they had been informed well in advance. U4U believes that this is unacceptable and asks the OIB to make GA available on all days when the Schools are closed.
4. Adapting the parental contribution scheme
U4U wants to go further than what was achieved during negotiations within the Joint Committee (COCEPE), in particular by seeking the award of:
- A 10% reduction in the parental contribution for the second child and more, as is already the case with the parental contribution for the GPS and crèches; and/or
- A sliding scale for the contribution depending on the length of the GA enrolment period, as offered by the available alternatives on the Belgian market.
5. Full-day child care centres (GLJ)
U4U is strongly opposed to the OIB’s decision to apply the parental contribution for the GA to full-day child care centres (GLJ), despite the fact that there had been no discussion on the subject within the COCEPE; the OIB having presented its proposal to the Committee in the form of a change of regulation for GA only. There must be a social dialogue before introducing such modifications.
 The demand for places is over 700 for some weeks (for example for 4-5/09/2017)
 Proposed by the OIB for teaching days, pedagogical days, admin days and short school holidays.
 For information, for the summer of 2018, the deadline for cancelling a place was set at 28 May 2018 for weeks 27, 28, 29 and 30 [i.e. at the latest between 5 and 8 weeks], and at 15 June 2018 for weeks 31, 32, 33, 34 and 35 [i.e. at the latest between 6 and 10 weeks]
 "The contribution to costs invoiced to the parent is a fixed sum per child per day. This sum is revised annually in line with the rate of salary increase for public officials published every year in the Official Journal of the European Union, series L. The calculation base is the year 2012 for which the fixed sum was €10.43 per day per child." [source
The Administration upheld the complaint of night staff on the new shift-working system from 26 March 2018 to whom it had refused to apply rate 4: another U4U victory for staff!
The Administration of the DG SAFE had refused to pay rate 4 to night staff who had been incorporated in the new schedule in March on the basis that, as the system changed on 26 March, rate 2 was applicable from that date.
Following the submission of an article 90 claim supported by U4U, the Administration acknowledged its mistake and instructed the relevant service of the Directorate-General for Personnel to pay the allowance at rate 4 for March 2018 to all night security officers working days between 26 and 31 March 2018.
The fact that a new system came into effect during a working month, on 26 March in this case, cannot contravene the rules governing working time, pay and the granting of allowances (Staff Regulations art. 56 bis and 65) according to the procedures defined in an Administration decision (Internal Rules Prevention [RIP], Surveillance, Reception and Accreditation DG Security and Protection in force). The working time of all agents at the institutions is assessed in terms of the calendar month. Pay is established on a monthly basis. This monthly basis is used as a reference.
The allowance received by an agent is also calculated within the month worked (between the first and last day of the month). Bonuses are calculated for the whole month. The allowance can also be calculated on a pro rata basis depending on whether the agent is starting or finishing a shift-working system.
In U4U’s opinion, the night staff concerned have not finished a shift-working system; they have simply gone from one shift-working system to another. The reality of their month of March worked on night/day rotation and weekend and public holiday corresponds to rate 4, irrespective of the shift system used.
U4U welcomes this result and appreciates the speed with which the Administration has regularised the situation of the staff concerned.
GPS (Garderies Post-Scolaires / after-school child care)
After-school child care (GPS) is an essential part of the working conditions offered to the staff in the Commission and in other EU institutions. To be fully productive and effective, parents need to be assured that their children are properly taken care of by an adequate service.
U4U brings you some positive news about the after-school day care for this school year:
Applications submitted after the deadline have decreased drastically to reach approx. 80, showing that, when properly informed in due time, parents do submit complete application within the set timeframe;
OIB has complied with its commitment to offer a place to every child of parents applying within the deadline.
Nevertheless, some improvements remains to be done:
Applications received after the deadline have been placed on the waiting list and OIB will look into those this month. –> A place has to be given to children whose parents have applied after the deadline, in particular for new comers and isolated parents – if not all;
Some were offered a place in the European schools GPS while having requested a place in a central GPS. –> As European schools are not centrally located and that one does not always have the school of his/her first choice, more places on the central sites have to be provided to fully meet all the demand. This will become even more important for next school year as PALM will have to close for at least two years to be fully refurbished into a creche/JE and GPS. OIB has foreseen to open additional groups in COLE but it will not be enough to respond to the whole demand. Alternative sites have thus to be identified now in order to have them ready for September 2019.
Externalisation of GPS continues with the opening of the BarnePark site in September 2018. The future of the GPS located in Beaulieu and Geneve remains unclear as OIB has informed parents that the creche have closed/will close. –> OIB has to stop externalising its services as we are all entitled to the same quality service, including infrastructure, pedagogical project, security, food, etc.
As a consequence, U4U strongly requests that, one hand, OIB increases its offer on central GPS and, on the other, extends its inter-institutional GPS by avoiding using any subcontracting of GPS.
U4U also encourages other institutions to step in to provide at least temporary alternatives for the closure of PALM in September 2019, in particular the European Parliament, the CESE and the CoR (as the Council already provided Van Merlandt GPS building)
Summary of the conference of 25 September 2018 on the unemployment benefit scheme for contract agents
Unlike other aspects of the social security cover for EU staff, the Community unemployment benefit scheme does not date from the entry into force of the first EEC and EAEC statutes on 1 January 1962. In fact, unemployment benefit was instituted by an amending regulation of the Staff Regulations in September 1985. Originally, it only covered temporary agents. In the 1980s, the Member States and the institutions considered it necessary to cover the risk of unemployment due to the increase in the number of agents who were not officials, especially in the area of EU programme management. It was also a matter of standardising the cover of former agents of the institutions, regardless of the provisions in force in the Member State in which they were resident. It should be noted that the 2004 revision led to changes in this system and extended cover to contract agents.
The conditions for entitlement to unemployment benefit for contract agents :
being jobless after the termination of their employment;
having completed a period of employment of at least six months in one or more EU institutions as a temporary or contract agent;
not having kept up the payment of their social security contributions to a national scheme during their period of employment at an EU institution or body;
being registered as a jobseeker with a national service of the Member State in which they are resident;
requesting social security cover from the competent national services (unemployment benefit, health insurance, family allowance) after the termination of their EC contract;
monthly confirmation of their registration as a jobseeker;
monthly declaration of social security benefits (unemployment benefit, family allowance, sick pay, pregnancy benefits, etc.), received from the national authorities, in a complementarity approach to the Community system.
The amount and duration of unemployment benefit for contract agents :
Since the revision of the Staff Regulations that entered into force on 1 May 2004, the period of cover by European Union unemployment insurance corresponds to one third of the period of the contract, with a maximum of three years, dating from the termination of employment. Articles 28 bis para. 3 RAA and 96 para. 3 RAA set the amount of the unemployment benefit based on the agent’s basic salary at the time of leaving the service:
a) 60% of the basic salary for an initial period of twelve months,
b) 45% of the basic salary from the thirteenth month to the twenty-fourth month,
b) 30% of the basic salary from the twenty-fifth month to the thirty-sixth month.
For the seventh consecutive time, the non-profit organisation “12 Hours for Greece”, established in Brussels, will organise a major charity concert on Saturday 10 November 2018, at 20.00 at the Salle de la Madeleine in Brussels, with the one-off participation of Alkistis Protopsalti.
The concert will have a special dimension since, as well as heating the schools of northern Greece (the “Fuel for Schools” initiative), the event will be an opportunity to collect funds to help the victims of the Mati fires on 23 July. In particular, the money collected during the concert will be used to buy winter clothing for some twenty families helped by the association since the summer. These families lost everything in the fire, and the support coming from Belgium represents a substantial psychological as well as financial support. That is why we hope to see you at the concert on 10 November in large numbers.
The tickets, priced at €30, can be ordered:
You can also make a donation to the following account: BE54 0016 6813 8197, with the reference “for Mati”. All sums received will be paid directly and immediately to the victims.
We thank you in advance for your generosity and hope to see you watching Alkistis Protopsalti in large numbers on 10 November,
Very best wishes to
Jimmy Jamar and the 12 Hours for Greece team
The Committee on Probation Reports is a joint advisory committee (a Chairperson, two members appointed by the administration, two members appointed by staff). It is called on to give its opinion each time the management considers that a probationary official has not shown sufficient merit during the probation period to justify being established in his/her post. The committee gives its opinion by majority vote, with the Chairperson having no voting rights.
The Appointing Authority can follow or reject the committee’s advice as it sees fit.
During the interview, the committee listens to the official in question, his/her representative and his/her line manager.
The role of the staff representatives is crucial to the defence of probationers’ rights. An analysis is carried out taking account of procedural and substantive aspects.
For the staff representatives it is a matter of ensuring the balanced application of the Staff Regulations and identifying and highlighting dysfunction on the part of the administration. The presence of staff representatives with a good knowledge of the Staff Regulations and a trade union-based approach is essential.
The 19th CAPOI was held in Brussels on 11 and 12 October 2018. This year, the conference had three main themes.
• The first theme dealt with careers in international organisations.
After several interesting speeches on this topic, the difference between two civil service systems became evident. The first, known as the “employment system”, is practised by the organisations of the United Nations common system and the organisations of the coordinated system (OECD, NATO, etc.). Its main characteristic is based on the obligation to apply for a different post to be promoted. The agent may not pursue their career in the post theyoccupies and be promoted. In contrast, the European Civil Service is based on a career system that enables officials not to change post unless they become a Head of Unit, Advisor, Senior Expert or Assistant Principal. It was also evident that European officials pursue careers in a system of categories and types of post firmly governed by the Staff Regulations and, in particular, by Annex IB on promotion rates, which constrains the budgetary authority. Such systems do not exist in the international civil service, where careers are often extremely limited or even non-existent.
• The second theme concerned the appraisal system.
Once again, the comparison favours the European Civil Service, which has a robust and well-regulated appraisal system. It should also be noted that our system provides for first-class judicial guarantees with an art. 90 appeal in addition to the litigation procedure. Although there is still room for improvement, it should also be noted that the assessment procedure in the EU institutions seems to be less contentious than in other international organisations in terms of the Staff Regulations.
• The final theme concerns staff representation in the international organisations.
Once again, the European system seems to provide far more guarantees than the other international organisations. Indeed, the comprehensive legal framework for staff representation guarantees that the opinions of staff are expressed, even if they are not upheld, when rules in the field of HR are adopted and/or changed. Accordingly, the statutory staff representation (art. 9 and Annex II of the Staff Regulations) involves staff in the implementation of the rules in a series of Joint Committees. In addition, the trade union representation enables the representative organisations to negotiate new rules or changes to the Staff Regulations with the Commission, in the context of the framework agreement, or with the Council, in the context of the Council decision of 1981. We must of course stress that the latter has not been adapted to the context of the informal trialogue and the Lisbon Treaty; however, there is nothing preventing the OSPs asking for it to be changed to include Parliament in the legislative consultation. On the other hand, it was clear that staff representatives in the other international organisations are usually merely informed. The difference also relates to the fact that these organisations have no central body like the Commission responsible for prioritising the organisation’s interests over those of the Member States.
U4Utube: the new U4U media
For just over a year, U4U has been developing a new communication method – U4Utube - involving the production of videos on subjects of interest to the agents of the European Civil Service and others.
Our videos address a wide variety of topics – including U4U, budget issues, the environment, the reform of Community staff representation, the situation in the agencies, the interpreters at the EP, the 2004 and 2014 reforms, the Graspe review, contract agents, the sickness insurance scheme, etc. – which are covered fairly briefly.
Most of our videos are translated into English and we are relying on the experience acquired to improve their look and content.
Issue no. 34 of Graspe has been released
This issue, which is packed with 150 pages, tackles a variety of topics on the political and economic situation in Europe on the basis of interviews, in particular with Sandro Gozi, Guillaume Klossa, Guillaume Duval, Jean Charles Leygues and Isabelle Thomas.
This wide-ranging issue also contains analyses and stories relating to the European Civil Service, how it works, its policies and the European Schools.
The issue closes with an analysis of the respect for the rule of law in the European Union, a very sensitive subject at the moment, and with a reading guide by the very pro-European Stefan Zweig.
This review has been put together by European officials since 2000. Its content shows that the officials are a long way from the image afforded to them by some sections of the media. They are people, often highly committed, who defend the European project in all its dimensions, including the social and environmental aspects.
Anyone who believes that the future development of their job depends on the European construction should read this issue and - why not - contribute to future issues.
So, happy reading!
I read with interest your tract on the crisis in the European schools. Your points are extremely valid but I was surprised that you did not mention the crisis in the English section. You talked about the difficulty in recruiting teachers for L2 English but not for L1. And you do not discuss the disintegration of the English section. L1 English speakers are currently in a minority in the English section as a growing number of children are joining the section who have English as their 2nd, 3rd or even 4th language. There are classes where only 1 third of the pupils actually have a native English speaker at home. In addition to this there are classes with a huge percentage of SWALs, up to 70%, which means the vehicular language in those classrooms is the first language of the SWALs and not English, meaning the Anglophones are isolated in their own section. Both of these phenomena are having a huge impact on the standard of education in these classes. They are being taught as an advanced L2 rather than L1, the teachers are using simplified vocabulary, the discussions are more limited than in other language sections and the cultural matters have been eliminated as there are too few children in the class with a cultural background relevant to the section e.g. Irish. This situation is clearly not ideal for the non-native speakers of English, in particular the SWALs, as there is little opportunity for immersion. But it is also far from ideal from the genuine L1 Anglophones who have little opportunity for enrichment, a simplified curriculum and are not allowed to explore their cultural heritage in the same way as their peers in the other sections.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.
Thank you for your comments. Obviously, in a short text we were not able to address all the numerous issues that EE face.
About the EN section, I would bring two nuances :
Apparently, pupils catch up because the results of the EN section in the BAC are commensurate with other sections. However, we think that the SWALS phenomenon should be reduced by opening new native language sections when they are needed (which is a right under the Convention, by the way). A better management of inscriptions should also help to maintain a proper ratio of native pupils.
The EN section, in the context of Brexit, will lose rather quickly a big number of native pupils. Therefore, unless other pupils are enlisted, we can expect that some EN sections will close in the years to come, which would a loss for everybody, incl. the other sections for LII, III and IV options.
We will certainly follow closely this problem,
En tant qu'AC dans une agence exécutive avons-nous le droit de vote ?
Reply from U4U
Oui bien sûr, mais pas durant ces élections. Chaque Agence a son propre Comité du Personnel et son propre calendrier électoral. Voir notre page sur la représentation du personnel pour plus d'explications. Par ailleurs, nous sommes conscients que le personnel des Agences exécutives devrait être mieux associé au dialogue social interinstitutionnel et nous avons des propositions en ce sens.
Appeal for your support
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.
Not yet a member of U4U? Join us as we need your participation.
Already a member? Upgrade from our subscription membership of €25 per year to a support membership of €84 per year.
We need your financial support. Help us to defend you, to propose more acceptable staff management policies and to challenge whatever hits us hard.
To join and/or change to a support membership, use this form on our website or contact us (list of contacts below).
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