The U4U Circular

  - N°59 9 February 2017 - Editor : G. Vlandas, Rédaction P. Kéraudren, K. Slama, F. Andreone, J.-P. Soyer.

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Overcharging for medical care in Luxembourg

U4U has written to President Juncker to ask him to take strong political action to demand that Luxembourg comply with the principle of equal treatment for all European citizens. This measure is beneficial not only to colleagues at the different institutions located in Luxembourg but also to those workplaces where overpricing is practised. The Commission's services are preparing a reply.

Read the letter...   Read the letter from Ms Gaffey, director of the PMO...


OIB: Will the UCC software track you?

A new IT tool developed within the framework of the "working environment of tomorrow strategy" offers numerous new possibilities with regard to collaboration, flexibility, remote working, etc. However, it was introduced without prior notification or consultation.

U4U is asking for information, in particular about the mechanism developed for tracking the activity of colleagues which appears to be included in this software package. We will be publishing a summary of the information provided by DIGIT to the local Staff Committee in Brussels shortly.

Read the letter from U4U...


Crèches & child care facilities; where do we stand?

Waiting lists are shorter, sometimes because families have become discouraged. The figures remain significant: some 300 on crèche waiting lists, 180 for after-school centres. The need for crèche places has partly been covered by the use of private crèches. Is this for the best? In addition, the problem of low supervisory rates at interinstitutional crèches persists, especially early and late in the day. For after-school centres, the lack of places is combined with a discrepancy between the places offered and requirements. Although there is a long waiting list, there is still room at the Berkendael, Palmerston and Van Maerlant centres for some age groups.

It should be noted that enrolments for the after-school centres for 2017-2018 will begin on 6 March.

An emergency plan is still needed to meet requirements. The Commission has been slow to begin a social dialogue on this subject with the interested parties: staff at crèches / after-school centres, users/parent associations, staff committee, administration and trade unions.


Job swaps: these are difficult times: let's have some ideas!

Transfer opportunities are limited during this time of staff cutbacks, especially for AST grades. We recommend the establishment in Sysper of a mobility grant enabling job swaps: in this way, colleagues would be aware of positions soon to become vacant and exchanges could be organised with the agreement of management.


Ryanair: a company suspected of social security fraud in France, following an earlier conviction. Will the Commission continue to make us fly with this company?

The French press reports that Ryanair has been placed under judicial supervision by the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal and ordered to pay a sum of EUR 5 million between now and February 2018. This security payment is intended to guarantee the legal representation of Ryanair and the possible payment of damages in the event of a further conviction. French social security agencies estimate their losses at EUR 6.8 million for the failure to register Ryanair staff based in Marseilles with French social security schemes.

The Aix-en-Provence public prosecutor suspects a possible "fraudulent system of registering its flight crews exclusively and artificially with social security agencies in Ireland to avoid paying social security contributions in France". An earlier prosecution for "social dumping", which the company defended, was settled in October 2014 when it was sentenced by the Aix-en-Provence Appeal Court to pay a fine of EUR 200,000 and ordered to pay approximately EUR 8 million in damages to the civil parties.

Will the Commission take steps to ensure that its agents do not continue to travel with a company that does not respect the social laws of one of its Member States?


Sixtieth anniversary of the Treaty of Rome

The 25 March 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community. On this date, Heads of State and government leaders will gather in the Italian capital for an Extraordinary European Council.

On this occasion, the citizens of Europe are invited to Rome for a "March for Europe", so that they can show their support for the European project and demand the revival of the political unity of Europe.

Those who believe in European unity - in a stronger, more unified and more democratic Europe, united economically and politically - must have the opportunity to express themselves. In Rome, with numerous players from European civil society, we can show that European citizens oppose nationalism and populism and want to work together for a united Europe.

We believe it would have been a good idea to broaden the range of organisations invited to attend - currently limited to federalist forces only - on the basis of a common concrete platform, involving trade union organisations and movements that are ready to operate a project-based European recovery.

See the website of the March for Europe ...


International Interns Strike

On 20th February, the world social justice day, the Global Intern Coalition, a network of organisations aiming to improve workplace rights for interns worldwide, is going to organise an International Interns Strike. There will be a series of events in various cities around the globe, and therefore also in Brussels.

The issue of unpaid internships in the European Commission and other EU institutions is of particular concern to us. The current practice of unpaid traineeships creates inequality between people. Only those with other sources of income are in a position to accept them. This is all the more problematic because traineeships are increasingly replacing entry level jobs and the transition from education to employment is getting longer and longer.

EU Interns 4 Interns, in cooperation with the European Parliament Stagiaires Association (EPSA) and the Brussels Interns NGO, will support the International Interns Strike and will host a panel discussion on "Unpaid Internships in light of the European Pillar of Social Rights". It will take place on the 20th February 2017 at 2pm at the European Commission (Centre A. Borschette).
Latest update : This event has been canceled

See the Facebook page of the event...