The European Aviation Safety Agency is based in Cologne (Germany)
Contact person : Gabriele Felsterl, Eric Sivel
EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency, is based in Cologne/Germany. With around 800 staff, we are one of the biggest European Union agencies. EASA’s main task is to ensure safety and environmental protection in civil aviation in Europe.
On 12 January 2018, after a few months of negotiations, U4U and EASA Management have signed a Framework Agreement that formalises social dialogue in EASA. Since then U4U@EASA has constantly grown.
Our Secretariat now consists of nine colleagues, representing a good combination of EASA employees with respect to gender, age and grade. Also the number of U4U@EASA members is continuously increasing.
Based on the Framework Agreement, U4U@EASA has negotiated the conditions for the exercise of trade union rights with EASA management. Essential basic support tools, such as a functional EASA mailbox, a site on the intranet, the use of office IT hardware (printers, copy machines, etc.) and meeting rooms for trade union work, 4 hours working time per week to be used for trade union work, a budget for missions, etc. On top of that we also have the administrative support of the “Assistant to Social Partners”.
Beginning of September we had a first All-Staff-Meeting which attracted more than 100 colleagues. Topics such as reclassification issues, Brexit, feedback from recent meetings with HR, U4U@EASA Work Programme 2019, equal opportunities were presented and discussed.
In the past months U4U@EASA has been mainly dealing with reclassification issues and individual cases. The reclassification exercise 2018 has resulted in a relatively high number of staff questioning for example the pace of reclassification, despite appropriate managerial assessments in every appraisal received. The discontent has been regularly increasing to a level which is difficult to sustain. U4U@EASA supports their members to make sure that all processes are followed properly and is together with HR discussing the best way forward.
More and more U4U@EASA is also being invited to participate in internal working groups and task forces, such as for reclassification or gender equality.
For the U4U@EASA Work Programme 2019 our proposed main topics will be reclassification, Brexit, equal opportunities and resource management in the light of the new Basic Regulation. The Work Programme will be discussed with HR and EASA management and agreed upon before the end of 2018.
As U4U@EASA our main goals are to promote and maintain a healthy working environment at EASA and to make sure changes are negotiated rather than imposed.
La signature de cet accord, suite à ceux déjà signés (EUIPO, EASME), démontre que le dialogue social est non seulement nécessaire mais possible. Merci aux premières agences qui, par leurs actes concrets, ouvrent la voie vers des relations professionnelles plus modernes et plus sociales. Nous avons une responsabilité commune pour faire vivre ces accords de manière utile pour les parties concernées et pour la fonction publique européenne.
Nous arrivons au terme de notre effort pour établir des relations sociales professionnelles correctes à l’EASA. La réunion de décembre 2017 avec le directeur de votre agence va s’avérer décisive.
Le bilan partiel que l’on peut tirer jusqu’à présent est le suivant :
Deux choses encore : Une assemblée générale du personnel aura lieu le 5 décembre, assurons-nous de son succès, car cela aidera à renforcer un rapport de forces favorable pour le personnel. Nous avons reçu plusieurs lettres, hélas anonymes, dénonçant le climat interne à l’agence et les méthodes de ménagement très critiquables. On en reparlera mais c’est très préoccupant.
A social dialogue meeting at EASA was held in a constructive spirit on 30 May with U4U, the EASA administration and the Local Staff Committee of EASA around the same table.
Social dialogue is a key feature of all EU institutions, including the European agencies. Within the scope of social dialogue, there is recognition of the specificities of the European agencies. All participants agreed that, in the current situation of budget austerity for all EU bodies, it would be extremely useful to enhance the mobility of staff between agencies. Nevertheless, this would entail solving a number of technical barriers regarding continuity of careers and pensions. U4U could assess how this issue could be carried at Commission level.
Regarding the situation of EASA itself, it is necessary to make sure that all staff, whether temporary agents (TA) or contract agents (CA), should have reasonable and stable prospects for a career. U4U insisted in particular on the necessity to improve the reclassification rates of TAs, in particular in lower grades where the current reclassification rates are in practice much lower than those established in Annex I B of the Staff Regulations. It also stressed that consideration should be given to allowing changes of function groups for CAs and building bridges between CA and TA functions. The EASA administration took note of these suggestions, considers the possibility to change the duration of contracts for CAs in the future in order to take into account career flexibility, while recalling the very tight budgetary constraints of the agency.
Social dialogue on job families went on following from the previous meeting. While recognising that the job families system is designed to help colleagues at EASA better plan their career, U4U recalled that this system should not appear to limit careers along the AST1-AST9 grades and AD5-AD 12 grades in particular and that all appointments should be made following the same transparent procedures. The EASA administration took note of these views and confirmed that an efficient communication should allow to allay concerns among EASA staff.
U4U suggested to bring the issue of psycho-social risks at the next meeting of social dialogue at EASA. This is an issue which is gaining more and more important within the EU institutions. The EASA administration agreed with this suggestion.
U4U declared that it would announce in due time the constitution of a U4U team at EASA so as to better organise the work and activities of the trade union in order to help staff whenever necessary. The EASA administration confirmed that it would allow the necessary resources for U4U representation to be able to work independently.
All participants agreed that such social dialogue meetings should be held on a bi-annual basis.
We met with the Local Staff Committee on 2 December 2016. It was a very productive meeting where we could explain our philosophy but also listen to the concerns of the LSC. These concerns overlap very much what we had heard during the public meeting with the Staff on 2 November and this is why the items that are in the letter to the ED P. Ky should be rather familiar to you.
I have to stress that we had a common understanding with the LSC that each of us, the LSC and U4U, had different roles but that these roles can add to improving the situation at EASA provided the ED wants to seize the opportunity for a constructive social dialogue for EASA.
I also took this opportunity to mention the recent agreement we reached at EUIPO and I shall be happy in a next message to explain this agreement to you and how a solid social dialogue can lead to improvements in the staff situation.
At this stage, it is important to be representative and therefore to enrol support from other colleagues around you who agree with U4U approach and would like to give a signal towards the administration of EASA. The quantitative support to U4U has definitely some bearing on the outcome of the negotiation. I recall that the membership fee is only 15 to 60 euros per year and can be stopped at any time.
We’ll be in touch soon for more about U4U actions and the reply of ED P. Ky.
P. Keraudren 12/12/2016
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:
1) The system of “jobs families” in place at EASA for Temporary Agents has repercussions on staff careers by potentially limiting their career in certain “career brackets” instead of the whole career as set in the Staff Regulations. Furthermore such a system would also raise issues concerning the changes in competences needed by the staff when changing from a “job family” to another job family. Such changes which should be assessed in terms of specialisation, training needs, efficiency and quality of working environment.
2) The promotion rates applied by EASA to reclassification for Temporary Agents are lower than those set in the Staff Regulations. This situation affects EASA staff compared to staff in other similar agencies.The reasons for this situation are yet unclear.
3) It would seem that jobs descriptions are not systematically available. This situation may impact the quality of staff evaluations and the objectivity and necessity of staff mobility with a view to professional development and collective efficiency.
4) The ways in which reorganisations and management appointments are implemented are not well understood by staff. This could create organisational instability and professional insecurity, which in turn may have a serious effect on staff motivation, as shown by the last staff survey at EASA.
5) The policies regarding the career of contractual agents is not sufficiently clear, regarding in particular their mobility, their reclassification and the access to temporary agents positions.
6) There is no policy of having officials at EASA while this is a common or developing practice in other similar European agencies. The pros and cons of this option should be better assessed.
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.
U4U meets the staff of EASA
2 November at 4.00 pm; Room Airbus 2+3
Union for Unity (U4U) is a European public service Trade Union which defends not only the statutory tights of the staff of the EU institutions at large but also the raison d'être of these institutions and of their policies. It encourages the development strong EU institutions with clear and shared objectives and highly competent staff who can deliver their tasks in multicultural environments. U4U supports all staff, officials, temporary agents and contractual agents, AD and AST, and ENDs and purports to keep them united in their requests for career, equal rights and dignity. In order to do so, it privileges social dialogue through its analyses in well-known journals (the Link, the Circular, GRASPE) and has a clear policy of proximity through a network of representatives at local level, notably in all Commission DGs. In order to illustrate this, in the last few months, U4U has worked on the new provisions affecting the contractual agents, the status and mobility of heads of unit, staff cuts and their impact on talent management and psycho-social behaviours, and is actively counselling British colleagues potentially affected by the Brexit through personal legal and non-legal advice.
Recently U4U has expanded its activities towards the European agencies and has published a "Alicante manifesto". The reason is that these agencies are often far from Brussels and experience difficulties in applying the Staff Regulations because of their specificities. We have thus decided to open a new U4U Section at EASA, with Gabriele Felsterl as its representative, in order to inform all the staff about the evolution of HR reforms at European level and how these reforms can impact them, and consult them about their working conditions and career concerns.
This first meeting will be an opportunity to address the following issues:
1) Careers for temporary agents: which careers can be envisaged within an agency or between agencies? What promotion systems are applicable and what are the best practices? Such questions could cover the issues of evaluation of staff, job families, promotion rates, right of appeal and also the development of competences and talent management in agencies.
2) Careers for contractual agents: which careers can be envisaged within an agency or between agencies? How can contractual agents become temporary agents? How can evaluations support professional development?
3) Mobility of staff: because of their high specialisation, mobility of staff in agencies is always a difficult matter, not only between agencies but also within each agency. The questions of shared mobility policies, job descriptions, transparency and job market, career development and appraisal are fundamental since in periods of austerity, talent management and consistency towards the policy and technical goals of the agencies are essential.
This first meeting of U4U with the staff is meant to "get to know each other" and discuss the issues above as experienced at EASA in order to reinforce the capacities for social dialogue between U4U and EASA management on the basis of objective analyses.
U4U will also suggest a date for meeting the staff at their request for personal short and confidential appointments which will also help us understand better the policy and working context of EASA.
We hope to see many of you at this first meeting between the EASA staff and U4U and look forward to a fruitful happy dialogue at EASA !