The European Aviation Safety Agency is based in Cologne (Germany)
Contact person : Gabriele Felsterl, Eric Sivel
Dear Mr Samson,
U4U took note of the EASA 2019 discharge in the European Parliament. The observations could seriously damage EASA’s reputation and the integrity of the image of the EU institutions in general. The statements in the discharge report have been supported by MEPs of all political parties and ultimately passed the scrutiny of the plenary vote with a vast majority.
Good administrative practices should be consistently applied at EASA, thus ensuring the motivation of the staff and consequently the efficiency of the Agency. This is particularly important as a swift rebuilding of the European aviation sector after the COVID-19 pandemic is necessary, for which full commitment of all the teams will be essential.
We learned with satisfaction that the Management Board that you chair has been given a key role in resolving some of the issues that need to be addressed urgently. Indeed, the engagement of the Management Boards in overseeing the staff policies of the Agencies is essential to prevent the rare but unacceptable and unchallenged shortcomings which occur in some Agencies.
Therefore, to ensure that you have all the information you need we wish to offer you our support with this task and would welcome a discussion with you and the Director.
Please rest assured that the EASA workforce is highly qualified and committed. We are convinced that together, with the EASA staff, you can find solutions to best serve sustainable aviation safety and the European citizens.
We are looking forward to hearing from you.
Answer from the chairman of the EASA management board
Dear Mr Vlandas,
First of all, I would like to thank you for approaching me on this issue.
The Management Board is aware of the observations made in the EASA 2019 discharge report from the European Parliament, and I can inform you that the matter was discussed in the recent Management Board meeting, which took place yesterday and today.
Furthermore the Management Board is aware that U4U and EASA have established a social dialogue, which is currently on-going. The Management Board has asked the Executive Director to report back on this matter and the decisions taken at the earliest convenience.
The Management Board acknowledges that EASA had to adapt to the current crisis affecting the aviation domain following the COVID-19 pandemic as 70% of the Agency’s budget is received from industry fees and charges. The aviation industry has been heavily impacted during the pandemic.
The Management Board has supported the decisions taken by EASA to respond to the crisis, and believes that these decisions will ensure that the Agency, with its highly professional staff, is able to perform its required tasks.
I trust that this clarifies any concerns you have.
Mail from U4U to all staff dated Jan 2021
Following the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU, a small number of our colleagues here at EASA and many others across the EU institutions no longer have citizenship of a Member State. European Institutions have been preparing for this since the 24th June 2016, when Jean Claude Junker emailed staff to declare that “According to our Staff Regulations, you are "Union officials". You work for Europe. You left your national 'hats' at the door when you joined this institution and that door is not closing on you now.” As a result of this preparation, it is possible to issue exceptions for British staff that enable them to continue to be employed. These exceptions are being applied in all the European Institutions except for one: EASA.
Here at EASA, many British colleagues prepared for Brexit by adopting a second nationality. Indeed, given that the exceptions process was not guaranteed they were both advised to and it was requested by the ED in order that only a small number of exceptions would be needed. However, not all of our British colleagues have been able to obtain a second nationality and not all have wanted to. Gaining a new nationality is not a mere matter of paperwork, it is also a question of identity and connection to a new State.
The remaining British colleagues in the Agency have now been told that they will lose their jobs as a result of Brexit, a decision that has been taken which doesn’t take into account the ongoing staffing needs of the Agency. This decision is out of alignment with Commission policy.
U4U believes that no staff member should be singled out because of nationality . As a consequence, U4U will be highlighting the issue to the commission and funding their legal fees should our British colleagues decide to appeal the decision taken against them.
Note adressée à Patrick KY, directeur de l’EASA, pour réclamer un dialogue social au sein de l’agence et atténuer les tensions internes (Avril 2021)
The new economic situation due to COVID also has an impact on the financial standing of some of the European Agencies. Agencies that are partly of fully funded by Fees and Charges report reductions of their revenues. EASA is among those particularly affected by the lockdown of the sector and foresees improtant budgetary cuts.
One of the reasons for delegating policy-making powers to regulatory Agencies was the need to guarantee policy continuity and independent application of expertise. The increasing technical and scientific complexity of many regulatory issues led to the establishment of technical agencies that bring together experts who are oriented by goals, standards of conduct, cognitive beliefs and career opportunities that derive from their professional community and who are therefore able to resist interference and directions from political outsiders.
The financial status of these EU Agencies that was once created to allow for policy continuity must not serve as a justification to counteract, in times of crisis, this continuity and independence of policy. In other words, when the income of a specialized regulatory agency goes down, due to temporary events and a temporary reduction of fees, EU central administration must guarantee continuation of operations, by bridging the financial gaps, without putting conditions and without influencing the application of policies by that agency. At the same time, the staff of all EU Agencies must be treated in the same way as the staff of the institutions, as all EU public servants are ruled by the same Staff Regulations. The financial autonomy of the agencies must not lead to discriminations between staff members who are employed as experts at a decentralized level and staff members who are employed at the central institutions.
Since the COVID situation started, aviation has been one of the most affected economic sectors. Drastic reduction of flights during several weeks is severely affecting the aviation industries in most of their fields. Industry related to Airlines, large airplanes and maintenance of these aircraft is expected to be more impacted than industry related to General Aviation, Rotorcraft, Business aviation or Cargo aviation. As well, Air Traffic Management Service Providers and related organizations may be less impacted than commercial airlines.
With regards to EASA, approximately 75% of annual budget is supported on Fees and Charges, and 25% is supported from EU and EASA members’ subsidies. It can be foreseen that the 75% part may be subject to unexpected imbalances.
In order to assess the budgetary context and needs, it is important to have in mind the Agency’s core mission, and its role in supporting European aviation industry, environment and employment. At the same time, it must be explained where the fees are coming from and which activities are not reporting income, independently if aviation activity grow or decrease.
EASA’s role is given through an EU Regulation, approved by European Parliament, which includes the transfer of certain sovereign competencies in the scope of aviation to a single European Agency. These national competencies are not performed anymore by any of the EASA member states, but delegated to the Agency. This includes certification of aircraft (aeroplanes, rotorcraft) and aviation products, oversight of organizations, including design organizations (either in or outside EASA Member States), production organizations (outside EASA MS), maintenance organizations (outside EASA MS), pan-European ATM service providers, and other organizations related to aviation. In addition, the Agency has been made regulator of aviation safety and environmental protection within the European Union.
EASA’s main activities support European Aviation industry, both inside and beyond EU borders, to ensure that EU operators keep a high level of safety everywhere they are operating their flights; and to allow European manufacturers to expand their market beyond our borders. EASA’s regulatory activity includes several different aviation related topics: maintenance, design, production, licensing, operations, Air Traffic Management, Airports, drones, etc. The existence of EASA results in enormous cost savings to EU Aviation industry as one single institution is unifying activities that before EASA establishment were repeated at each of the Member states. Moreover, a single body is merging all the knowledge and expertise of EU Member States, which creates an aviation institution recognized worldwide, allowing our industry to have a higher grade of credibility and increasing their market opportunities.
It is obvious that the regulatory activity of the Agency must be continued, notwithstanding the crisis, at the same level of scrutiny and quality. The aviation crisis has an impact on EASA’s budget. However, EASA’s budget is not directly related to the number of European flights, or number of aircraft or rotorcraft sold. In order to identify the real budgetary impact of this crisis, U4U is requesting to be informed in detail of the activities that are actually affected by the crisis.
Concerning the cuts and measures proposed by EASA’s HR Department, U4U has been informed about the following 12 proposals:
1- Flexi time leave used for its original purpose only with daily reduction of working hours
2- Exceptional annual carryover of leave not available from 2020 to 2021
3- Encouragement for voluntary use for parental leave / other leaves where activities subject to reduction
4- Reduced working time to 80-90% for some months for all staff
5- Unpaid leave
6- International school fee contribution review based on equal treatment principle with Agency contribution cap
7- Job ticket and parking allowance cancellation
8- Reclassification freeze 2020
9- Retirement eligibility review in accordance with age limit
10- Encouragement for voluntary retirements
11- Policy changes for contract renewals with definite period with future impact
12- Contract terminations due to e.g. post discontinuity and non-availability of competence redeployment in the Agency
In essence, the above mentioned proposals seem to reflect the crisis management philosophy of a private entity that needs to prove short term rentability to its stakeholders by forcing its employees into accepting crisis arrangements. EASA as a public agency that is part of the European administration must not go for short term patches and is not allowed to impose individual arrangements on its employees. It is important to note that most of the above proposals are not related to a short term cash-flow issue, which was mentioned by EASA Executive Director in some of his communications. Such proposals need to be extensively discussed in order to understand their rationale, the expected cost savings, and the identified social and economic impact on staff. Measures not immediately addressing cash flow problems should be postponed, understanding that the first priority should be tackling the current cash flow problem.
Moreover, most of the mentioned proposals should not be discussed at the level of an individual agency, but only at a wider scope of the European administration if necessary at all. Measures that have an impact on the implementation of the Staff Regulations must be discussed with the Commission and can only be adopted following the administrative procedure and the social dialogue foreseen. There must be no unilateral modification of the scope of individual rights guaranteed by the Staff Regulations at the level of a single agency. All European public servants are subject to the same Regulation, and side discussions cannot be accepted because EASA staff would suffer discrimination from other European public servants.
We also note that some proposals concern individual arrangement that individuals can request and administration can approve in accordance with the requirements stipulated in the Staff Regulations. EASA proposals are inverting the roles between employee and administration and deprive the individual of its right of initiative by seeking to impose such arrangements for all employees. Such method may be possible in the private sector negotiations – it cannot be applied to public sector employees.
EASA main place of employment is Cologne, where no European School is yet stablished. For many years, EASA has agreements with international schools where most of EASA staff’s children attend. On the other side, the second place of employment of a reduced number of employees is Brussels, where there are European Schools. A cut or reduction of the schooling contribution is doubtful as it would only affect staff whose place of employment and children are located in Cologne while other colleagues would not be affected.
In summary, we understand that cash flow issues can and should be tackled exclusively by postponing or negotiating a postponement of certain payments for services contracted either with suppliers or with the Member States to whom EASA has outsourced tasks. As a last resource, delaying a percentage of salaries, could be negotiated with the social partners. In the meantime, budget discussions need to focus on 2021, and must involve all the stakeholders: the European Commission, EASA Member States and the Social partners that represent all European public servants, not only at EASA level.
Georges Vlandas, President & Gregor Schneider, Vice President Regulatory Agencies 26/06/2020
Demande de dialogue social du 3 août 2020
A Monsieur Marco-Umberto Moricca
Monsieur le directeur,
Je confirme, suite à la tenue de la réunion avec le Commissaire Hahn, notre intérêt de discuter rapidement avec la Commission de la situation de l’agence de régulation EASA.
Suite à la pandémie et compte tenu de ses effets économiques sur le secteur de l’aéronautique civil, qui contribue au budget de l’EASA à hauteur environ de 75%, la direction de cette agence a souhaité proposer des réductions de la masse salariale à travers des économies diverses, voire des réductions des effectifs.
Un accord social a été trouvé avec notre section au sein de cette agence se traduisant essentiellement par la remise en cause des promotions cette année et une contribution, pendant 10 mois, à hauteur de 2% du salaire pour les parents ayant des enfants dans des écoles sous contrat avec l’EASA. Cet accord est provisoire et ne permet pas d’envisager sans crainte le futur. D’autres réductions pourraient être proposées. Il est porté à votre attention que ces évènements ont créé une forte tension sociale au sein de l’EASA au cours de ces derniers mois.
La question de principe d’un traitement équitable de tous les employés des Institutions Européennes doit donc aussi être abordée.
De surcroît la situation économique et la source majoritaire de financement de l’EASA ne sont pas sans risque pour la sécurité aérienne et potentiellement pour l’image de l’Union Européenne. Un contexte de crise économique peut amener les entreprises aériennes à abaisser leur niveau de sécurité. Le récent accident au Pakistan en est hélas un tragique rappel. Les autorités de sécurité aérienne doivent donc absolument augmenter leur vigilance. Or ses difficultés économiques force l’EASA à l’abaisser. Cette agence risque de ne plus accomplir à très court terme ses missions en matière de contrôle de sécurité au niveau d’avant la crise sanitaire, et ce malgré les efforts consentis par son personnel. Si la situation venait à s’aggraver et les réductions d’effectifs devenaient réelles, certaines missions pourraient ne plus être effectuées.
La sécurité aérienne est une mission publique et son exécution ne doit pas être rendue dépendante de problèmes de trésorerie à court terme. De même, la décentralisation de l'administration ne doit pas conduire à une moins bonne exécution des tâches gouvernementales. Dans les moments de crise, l'administration centrale est sollicitée et doit veiller à ce que les agents de l’Union puissent exercer leurs fonctions publiques dans les mêmes conditions qu'en temps normal.
La sécurité aérienne est l’objectif du travail de l’EASA. Dans une période de crise comme celle qui frappe actuellement le secteur aérien, il est vital que la Commission soutienne l’EASA afin de lui permettre d’assurer pleinement sa mission. Un accident dans de telles circonstances pourrait également avoir des répercutions désastreuses sur l’image de l’Union Européenne.
Ceci explique les raisons de notre demande de dialogue avec vos services.
Dans l’attente de notre réunion de travail, et en remerciant de la lecture de ce message
Communication from the Staff Committee
In preparation for the gradual return to the office, we would like to highlight that the SC recommendations and concerns were heard. The SC is aligned with our Executive Director’s video message dated 29 April 2020, with regards to aspects of the management of the health and safety at EASA in this crisis situation.
We also want you to feel reassured by the ED’s communication of EASA’s financial problem as being only “about cash, not about our overall budget”, particularly since our Agency has difficulties to recover payments from invoices, and the general slowdown of the business.
We believe that it is necessary to collectively understand the need of a balanced cost cutting exercise (e.g. reducing missions to the essential minimum), to be prepared for the inevitable economic recession. In this context, we are satisfied to hear that the ED has opened a communication channel with the Social Partners to inform and involve them in the discussions about possible solutions. This exchange will take place under the auspices of the “Framework Agreement” that Patrick Ky signed with the trade union U4U.
The role of the Staff Committee will be to assess whether any proposed measures are compatible with the Staff Regulations and its Implementing Rules, and to ensure that the measures are implemented in a fair and transparent manner.
The Staff Committee 05/05/2020
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 !