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Our guidelines

What do we want?

The Commission’s professions are constantly evolving as a result of the growth and diversification of its missions, as well as fundamental changes in management methods. These changes have been brought about in particular by new technologies and the unprecedented crisis, which has exponentially increased our dependence on these new technologies, but has also opened the door to an overhaul of our working methods.

Our institution is under pressure, all the more reason for it to take care of its staff! With our status unchanged, U4U is proposing a series of actions that we believe will benefit both staff and the institution. Obviously, one cannot be achieved without the other.

Europe needs a cohesive, motivated, independent and competent civil service: let’s make sure we give ourselves the means to achieve that ambition.

1. Civic involvement

  • For U4U, the European civil servant is not a bureaucrat, but a player in the construction of Europe, which is his or her raison d’être. Similarly, and surveys confirm this, European civil servants are very often involved in society, defending European values through the fight for equality and solidarity, against precariousness and, more recently, against global warming. To support this commitment :
  • U4U will continue to support the think tank GRASPE, as it has done since its inception. This magazine is run by civil servants from a variety of backgrounds who reflect on the future of the civil service and its role in European integration. It is recognised by academic institutions and followed by tens of thousands of civil servants;
  • U4U, together with other European (and Brussels-based) associations, has set up the European Citizens’ Platform (ECP), to reflect on European integration outside the institutions, and even to organise rallies in favour of it, such as those held on 9 May;
  • U4U has created a website (Europe Solidaire) dedicated to European integration, with a library of articles on the European civil service. Several thousand people visit the site every month.

2. Diversity and inclusion

  • Despite the progress made, parity and the inclusion of diversity are not always a reality in our institution. The management style, type of selection and staff evaluation criteria are not sufficiently conducive to diversity, and the institution itself would like to improve them. Equality, dignity and non-discrimination are European values that are now rooted in our aspirations as citizens: let’s set an example. In particular, by changing recruitment methods to diversify qualifications and encourage greater diversity;
  • No one should be discriminated against or harassed, whatever their nationality, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation or political beliefs. Specific measures must be taken to prevent this. The new HR strategy must develop a common institutional culture of inclusion, and implement an inclusive approach in the daily working environment, which can win the support of every colleague and make our Institutions a place where everyone finds their place;
  • U4U wants to fight against disparities and precariousness. On the basis of their merits and experience, the Commission must offer career opportunities to staff in all categories: officials, temporary staff and contract staff. A community of interest must be constantly sought, because division weakens and hampers the proper performance of the tasks entrusted to us.

3. Dignity and working conditions

  • The administration must ensure the well-being of all its staff, and in particular those who are experiencing a significant increase in their workload. Solutions must be found to ensure continuity in the quality of task performance, a hallmark of excellence in the work of the Institutions’ staff, while guaranteeing realistic working rhythms and adequate tools and working environment. To achieve this, additional resources must be provided: our Institutions cannot constantly take on more tasks while accepting staff cuts;
  • Furthermore, the spread of teleworking raises the question of reimbursing at least part of the associated costs;
  • Repeated restructurings, neither agreed nor explained, destabilise work teams and are rarely subject to the necessary prior reviews. Moreover, they add to the opacity of the institutional structure, both for staff and for the general public. Staff must be systematically consulted, and in the event of disagreement, listening chambers must be organised to allow problems to be expressed and consensual solutions sought. Staff representatives must be present when these chambers are organised;
  • The quality of the service provided must take precedence over “productivity”, especially when this is achieved at the expense of our missions and the health of our colleagues;
  • No colleague should be treated inadequately by our institution, left to fend for themselves or stuck not working. The Commission needs all its staff to work together in a constructive spirit so that the European Union can move forward;
  • We all need to work longer, but our institution needs to prepare for this longer working life from the moment we start work. It must also better enable older colleagues to continue to progress, by continuing to train them and offering them careers that take account of their experience and merit;
  • In conclusion, U4U believes that Human Resources policy should be considered first and foremost in its own right, without depending on other policies. As with all fundamental challenges to working conditions, and their possible consequences for the efficiency and well-being of staff, U4U demands that decisions taken on hybrid working methods, ‘open’ spaces and flexi-desks be based on relevant analyses and in consultation with trade unions. Their implementation must always be followed by a regular evaluation, which will form the basis of an analysis enabling decisions to be taken on any corrections to be made, in consultation with the trade unions. They must not be rushed, as in the past, for example to serve as a springboard for a property policy. They must not be carried out without the involvement and support of staff;
  • U4U would like to see an intensification of the social dialogue between institutions and trade unions, better preparation for it and a broadening of the subjects to be discussed (for example, budget and property policy). Similarly, once a year, trade unions should be able to propose a non-predefined topic for dialogue, leaving it up to them to choose. In addition, for U4U, dialogue can also be organised directly between the institution and the staff themselves through annual meetings by department, during which staff can propose topics for discussion which will then be discussed by the Staff Committee and with the unions;
  • U4U advocates a reform of staff representation. At the statutory level, we are calling for each workplace to have its own staff committee (for example, Seville does not yet have one). We also recommend that each committee should have a number of elected representatives commensurate with the population represented. We ask that the elections in the different workplaces be held at the same time and according to the same electoral system, so that a stable Central Staff Committee (CSC) can be set up quickly.

4. Recruitment and training

  • The Commission must fulfil its missions by fully assuming its institutional and political role. To achieve this, it must have a forward-looking approach to human resources management that is no longer merely administrative and regulatory. It must be able to anticipate essential needs and talents, as well as monitor and support staff throughout their careers;
  • The objectives and methods of induction should be rethought, by improving the induction and training of new arrivals beyond the probationary period. New staff should be allowed to familiarise themselves with the institution’s services and its history. The probationary period could be preceded by a temporary agent contract for a period of 2 years, which would only be offered once an external competition has been successfully completed, as soon as the results are known. During these 2 years, the future civil servant should have the opportunity to discover several areas and/or DGs, and to follow the training necessary for the rest of his/her career. The probationary period could thus provide a real additional assessment of the skills of future civil servants. The same two-year course could be offered to civil servants who join the civil service directly as civil servants;
  • To help colleagues build a career from the moment they start work, the Commission should offer targeted training – thematic, linguistic, IT – to all staff. Participation must be encouraged and facilitated. A specific effort must be made for senior colleagues who need to redirect their careers and for colleagues in general who change jobs;
  • With the accelerated implementation of new hybrid working methods, a specific effort must also be made in terms of training to support staff in this transition, at all hierarchical levels;
  • To reduce disparities, we are in favour of internal competitions enabling all officials (AD) and temporary staff (AT) to reach higher grades. U4U is opposed to the idea of creating an Office bringing together the building and logistics professions, mail, security, IT and early childhood, for example, which would allow the recruitment of contract agents (CAs) in GFII – or even higher – on more decent terms (permanent contracts with proper remuneration for qualifications). On the one hand, this could improve employment conditions and offer better career prospects for contract staff, but there is a risk of reducing the number of civil servants and thus weakening the civil service. We believe that there are better ways of meeting the expectations of contract staff. For example, after 6 years on a contract, contract staff should be able to benefit from temporary contracts for a further year or two, allowing them to take part in internal competitions with a higher number of successful candidates. Similarly, the employer should provide free training for staff, including those on precarious contracts, preparing for external competitions (as U4U obtained from the EUIPO employer in Alicante). Clearly, U4U is acting in the interests of all staff, and prefers to give everyone access to free training provided by the employer, rather than forcing them to join a trade union in order to benefit from it.

5. Career and mobility

  • Promotion should be based on merit, according to criteria that are clearly defined, comparable and known to all parties. Assessment and promotion procedures must be simplified. Everyone must be able to understand how they are being assessed and the validity of the assessments;
  • Internal selections (including mobility) for the allocation of positions must be based on clearly stated criteria, and provide useful feedback to candidates, including comments on their performance during interviews;

We need to reduce the number of hierarchical levels, which have tended to multiply in the past. They are all obstacles to the expression of staff creativity and motivation, and moreover are contrary to the policy of a culture of trust that is being promoted by the “new HR strategy”;

Mobility, whether spontaneous or initiated by the institution in the interests of the service, must be encouraged by offering supported, interesting and rewarding career paths. Training should be offered to encourage and prepare for mobility, and support should be provided to ensure an effective transition. Generally speaking, implementing automatic mobility, including for middle and senior management, is counter-productive and often arbitrary in its effects, with the risk of a loss of expertise for the institution. What’s more, leaving colleagues to rely on their personal and/or national networks to find a new post does nothing to strengthen the link between the institution and their colleagues;

An effort still needs to be made to better welcome new staff, particularly at a time of change in organisation and working methods, and regardless of where they are posted. Our organisation is complex: guidance and easier orientation are desirable (training, support, opportunities for several career paths).

6. Our Health

  • Le Régime Commun d’Assurance Maladie – RCAM – doit être amélioré, pérennisé mais aussi actualisé pour tenir compte de l’évolution de la science d’une part, comme de l’évolution de la société d’autre part. La couverture doit être élargie, et les remboursements améliorés. En effet, le taux de remboursement effectif des frais médicaux par le RCAM n’est plus aujourd’hui de 85%. En cause, des plafonds de frais pour les soins qui n’ont plus été adaptés depuis 2007. En Belgique le taux de remboursement moyen est de 80%, alors que le RCAM est en deçà de 80% : cela signifie qu’on rembourse moins bien que le système national du pays où la plupart des fonctionnaires sont situés. Il faut réviser ces plafonds afin d’arriver à nouveau à un remboursement effectif de 85%.
  • Les coefficients d’égalité doivent également être revus. Pour améliorer le service, la réserve doit être réduite. En cas de déséquilibre, il ne faut pas hésiter à accroître légèrement les cotisations (ce qui est prévu par les règles actuelles). Plus de conventions doivent être établies avec les structures de soins des États Membres, afin d’éviter les surfacturations. De plus, les politiques développées aujourd’hui par l’Union européenne parlent à la fois de prévention et de résilience ;
  • Les interventions du RCAM doivent être cohérentes avec ces politiques. Lorsqu’elles existent, elles doivent couvrir les collègues en fonction des besoins et sans discrimination. Elles doivent mieux prendre en compte les avancées de la médecine préventive, comme les nouveaux besoins en matière de santé mentale . La dépendance devra également être prise en charge;
  • Le budget pour la politique sociale de la Commission doit se doter des moyens nécessaires pour rembourser aux collègues ou à un membre de leur famille porteurs d’un handicap les frais liés à leur handicap qui ne sont remboursés ni au titre du RCAM, ni au titre d’une aide nationale, dont ils seraient exclus du fait de leur affectation ;
  • U4U était le premier syndicat à demander une révision des règles générales d’exécution du RCAM, en vue de permettre ces différentes améliorations ;
  • Étant donné la généralisation du télétravail et la mise en œuvre attendue de nouveaux modes « hybrides » de travail, il est urgent de s’assurer que les normes de santé et de sécurité au travail soient respectées également quel que soit le mode de travail (bureau, télétravail…). Les risques liés à l’hyperconnectivité et à la surcharge numérique doivent être pris en considération ;
  • Il faut améliorer l’accès aux soins médicaux pour tous les affiliés du RCAM dans tous les pays de l’UE. Pour cela, il faut disposer d’une carte européenne de protection sociale qui soit reconnue dans tous les États Membres ;

7. Our status

  • We are still opposed to a reform of the Staff Regulations; we have all already paid the price of the 2004 and 2014 reforms, which resulted in a significant reduction in direct and indirect pay and savings on pensions, increased disparities and insecurity without offering the means to mitigate these negative impacts. What’s more, they have made it possible to gradually roll back the concessions and quid pro quos that had been obtained by the trade unions (e.g. end of career, pensions, etc.). The 2019 report by the Court of Auditors points to the Institutions’ increasing difficulty in recruiting, particularly for certain profiles and certain nationalities: let’s not deprive ourselves of our talents and our diversity!
  • U4U is in favour of an increase in the EU budget, with adequate resources for a civil service commensurate with its tasks. We advocate a mid-term review of the budget for Heading 7 (human resources: operations, buildings, salaries, pensions, health, European schools), to facilitate the implementation of the current European recovery plan – or even to allow the implementation of a second plan that we consider useful.

Our reference texts

Volume 1 Summary

  • Lettre U4U au Président nommé de la Commission M. J.-C. Junker, Septembre 2014.
  • Dossier U4U, « Diviser le personnel », Diviser le personnel c’est se battre contre ses propres intérêts. Œuvrons dans la clarté en faveur de l’unité du personnel, Consultation, Novembre 2014.
  • Dossier U4U « Mobilité », Les enjeux de la mobilité au sein de la Commission pour l’emploi, la croissance, l’équité et le changement démocratique, Les analyses et propositions d’U4U, Document de travail sur la mobilité à la Commission, La Circulaire N° 48, 26 Mars 2015.
  • Dossier U4U « Insuffisance professionnelle », L’insuffisance professionnelle: Parlons-en, de manière objective et ouverte, La Circulaire N°48, 26 mars 2015.
  • Dossier U4U « Régime pension », Faits et arguments: La préservation du régime pension des personnels de l’Union européenne, une priorité pour le personnel!, La Circulaire N°46, 23 Février 2015.
  • Dossier U4U « Femmes », 8 mars: par respect pour les femmes, arrêtons de tout confondre !, La Circulaire N°47, 4 mars 2015.
  • Dossier U4U « CGAM », Régime commun d’assurance maladie : que faire?, Consultation, Avril 2014.

Volume 2 Summary

  • U4U, Propositions U4U pour le mandat du comité du personnel (2015-18), Que Voulons-Nous?, Juin 2015.
  • U4U, Comment U4U agit pour défendre le personnel, Qu’avons-nous fait?, Juin 2015.
  • Crèches et garderies à Bruxelles: dysfonctionnements et revendications, Juin 2015.
  • Lettre U4U pour Madame F. Mogherini, Vice-Présidente / Haute Représentante, Lundi 11 Septembre 2014.
  • GRASPE, L’Europe en crise ou crise de l’Europe ?, Cahier n° 25, Juin 2015.
  • GRASPE, « Union Européenne: mobiliser les énergies pour s’en sortir ! », Cahier n° 24, Février 2015.
  • GRASPE, « Business as usual à Bruxelles ? », Cahier n° 23, Juin 2014.
  • Le Lien – The Link, « Le dialogue social à la Commission », Octobre 2014 – n° 41.
  • Le Lien – The Link, « Continuité ou changement ? Première analyse de textes et questions au Président Juncker », Octobre 2014 – n°41.
  • Le Lien – The Link, « Le plan Juncker c’est bien, l’initiative “New Deal for Europe”, c’est mieux! », Octobre 2014 – n° 41.
  • Le Lien – The Link, « Échanges de fonctionnaires : et si nous passions à la vitesse supérieure ? », Octobre 2014 – n° 41.
  • Le Lien – The Link, « U4U renforce ses principes démocratiques », Octobre 2012 – n° 26.
  • « Charte de l’adhérent, du représentant, de l’élu et du détaché »
  • « Code déontologique pour les responsables syndicaux de U4U »

Volume 3 Summary

  • U4U, « Les AST dans l’impasse ? 7 propositions d’U4U pour redynamiser les carrières des collègues AST », Septembre 2015
  • Appel d’U4U / RS, syndicat de la fonction publique européenne, aux Membres du Conseil Européen, Octobre 2015
  • Dossier U4U, « Quel avenir pour la DG RTD ? », Les analyses et propositions U4U, Janvier 2015
  • Le Lien – The Link
  • Le développement des agences exécutives à la Commission : entre nécessité et marketing? », n. 33, Avril 2013
    • « 55+ : aller de l’avant ! », n. 38, Janvier 2014
    • « 55+ : une question de culture », n. 10, Janvier 2011
    • « Refuser tout affaiblissement de la fonction publique européenne » (Partie 1), n. 33, Avril 2013
    • « Refuser tout affaiblissement de la fonction publique européenne » (Partie 2), n. 32, Mars 2013
    • « La fonction publique européenne a déjà connu les politiques de remise en cause qui frappent maintenant les fonctions publiques des Etats membres », n. 10, Janvier 2011
    • « Les dangers des approches nationalistes non-communautaires », n. 10, Janvier 2011
    • « En finir avec les statuts discriminatoires : Passer d’une diversité de statuts à une communauté de travail, Ouvrons le débat », n. 4, Avril 2010
  • Editoriaux de la revue « Education Européenne »
    • Des écoles pour l’Europe, n°1, Juillet 2010
    • Écoles européennes, un coût ou un investissement ?, n°2, Février 2011
    • Écoles européennes: un instrument de politique extérieure de l’Union Européenne?, n°3, Juillet 2011
    • Le Parlement Européen reconnaît l’originalité des Ecoles Européennes, n°4, Mai 2012
    • Les écoles européennes, ont-elles encore un avenir ?, n°5, Octobre 2013
    • Pour le développement de l’éducation européenne, n° 6, Mars 2014
    • Avoir la foi !, n° 7, Novembre 2014
    • Face à l’essor des diasporas, favoriser une insertion dans la diversité grâce à la culture et au développement des systèmes éducatifs européens, n° 8, Avril 2015

Volume 4 Summary

  • Affaires Européennes
    • « Affaire Volkswagen: quelles responsabilités au niveau européen? Le JRC avait déjà dénoncé l’inefficacité des mesures de pollution des véhicules. La fraude de Volkswagen n’est que la partie émergée de l’iceberg! », Octobre 2015
  • Politiques de Ressources Humaines
    • « Bien-être au travail: agir aussi (et surtout) sur les causes ! », Octobre 2015
    • « U4U: Qu’attendons-nous du télétravail? », Novembre 2015
    • « Contractuels : Dans l’unité, prenons en main notre destin professionnel! », The Link n° 38, Janvier 2014
    • « Résolution du Rassemblement des fonctionnaires et des contractuels du Mardi 23 avril », The Link n° 33, Avril 2013
    • « CLP de Bruxelles : pour une nécessaire réflexion », The Link n° 26, Octobre 2012
  • Représentation du personnel
    • « Où en est la représentation statutaire du personnel ? », The Link n° 32, Mars 2013

Volume 5 Summary

  • Affaires Européennes
    • L’Europe en crise ou crise de l’Europe ?, GRASPE Cahier n°25, Juin 2015
    • Les programmes de réformes grecs: “Qui trop embrasse mal étreint”, GRASPE Cahier n°26, février 2016
  • Politiques de Ressources Humaines
    • Lettre ouverte au Président de la Commission, Monsieur J.C. Junker, Violence au travail, 11 décembre 2015
    • Lettre ouverte au Président J.C. Junker, 11 janvier 2016
    • Faire mieux avec la même chose: utiliser de manière raisonnable les excédents du régime commun d’assurance maladie [RCAM], Consultation du personnel, 4 mars 2016
    • Walk the talk: une Commission talentueuse au service d’une Europe talentueuse, Cahier n°26, février 2016
    • Le SEAE, cinq ans après: cohérence interne et pouvoir d’influence, Cahier n°26, février 2016
    • Brexit: is my job at risk?
    • “Les agents contractuels, une génération de talents perdus”, The Link n°46, décembre 2015
    • “Un nouveau départ pour ‘New Deal for Europe'”, The Link n°44, septembre 2015
    • “La gestion des effectifs à la Commission: entre pessimisme et colère !”, La Circulaire n°53, février 2016
  • Représentation du personnel
    • “Nous ne croyons pas à l’action collective ?”, The Link, n°44, septembre 2015
    • “Les syndicats ne servent à rien !”, The Link n°45, octobre 2015

Manifesto for a more civic-minded European trade unionism

Why should we do this? Because we are now facing a programmed weakening of the European Public Service, at a time when the economic crisis is demonstrating the balancing role played by public authorities at all levels …. Our trade union action must therefore change in nature and dimension.

How can we do this? By acting as a catalyst, and not just another trade union, in the necessary mobilisation against the ideological dismantling undertaken by the European Commission since the end of 2004… Mobilising and uniting without exclusion will be our principles of action.

What priority actions should we take? Your priorities will drive our collective action

The weakening of the European Civil Service is underway. There are two reasons for this situation: since the end of 2004, the Commission has no longer been the bearer of the “common interest”: it therefore no longer needs an independent European civil service to guarantee the protection and promotion of this common interest. Moreover, the “Kinnock reform” (in all its dimensions) of the European Civil Service Statute, negotiated in good faith by European trade unions, was conceived by its promoter only to serve as a lever for the dismantling enterprise that we are currently witnessing.

All of us who are members of this European civil service, with its dual requirements of independence and integrity, must face the facts. Despite appearances, the original European project is increasingly being called into question, and not just in certain capitals, under the combined effects of militant euroscepticism and populism in constant search of a scapegoat… which can only be Europe or Brussels.

Now, this questioning is manifesting itself in Brussels itself, at the Commission. One of the latest avatars of this questioning is the so-called “Report of the three Directors-General”, which plans to replace, whenever “possible”, a European civil servant by a seconded national expert – for whom it is more difficult not to be subject to the orders of his or her capital – or by staff recruited on an ad hoc basis by co-option.

To defend particular interests, whether sectoral (hedge funds) or geographical (such as the world’s leading offshore financial centre, the City), it is more useful to have ‘specialists’ under control than European civil servants committed to the common good…!

Trade union action and negotiation in the interests of employees can no longer be conducted as they once were in the face of a Commission which, for reasons of ideology as much as tactics, has abdicated or even hijacked its role.

Ironically, this loss of responsibility comes at the very moment when the role of public power is re-emerging as increasingly necessary, and at a time when the shift in power in the world is making the concept of a European “common interest” more essential than ever in order to face up to it and restore jobs and hope to millions of our fellow Europeans. …

Confronting the eurosceptic contamination requires that the trade union fight of European civil servants, our fight, is part of a citizen approach.

The nature of our trade union fight must not only change, it must also change dimension: this is also the ‘raison d’être’ of U4U.

In this context, with this in mind, U4U proposes to play a catalytic role in future mobilisations, whether they are general or more specific.

To this end, U4U would like to bring together the other trade union organisations to discuss and draw up a common Platform for Action, to be submitted to the staff for approval, based on common principles and guidelines, in order to confront together this systematic undertaking to demolish the European Public Service.

Choosing U4U is not choosing one trade union among others, it is sharing the choice of a group of civil servants from all backgrounds who want to return to the primary vocation of any trade union commitment: TO COMBINE.

This choice to come together is not a nostalgic choice, it is the choice to face up in solidarity to the exceptional challenge facing the European Civil Service, a challenge which calls into question both its existence and its ‘raison d’être’, OUR common vocation in a way.

This is why U4U is not, and will not be, a trade union like the others. U4U will be among the others, with the others, SO THAT EVERYBODY COMES TOGETHER.

But U4U will not only be a CATALYST of the common battles to be waged against an Administration which is increasingly assuming a role of collective and individual harassment towards a growing number of civil servants, contract and temporary staff, etc….

U4U will also, and above all, be a PLAYER in the defence of the principles and issues that you consider to be priorities.

Our trade union action, because it is intended to be civic-minded, can make a useful contribution to the return of a strong and independent Commission. And this at a time when the crisis calls for coordinated action at European level, with the Commission once again acting as the driving force: its current absence has resulted in a situation where 27 national recovery plans are juxtaposed, with no effect.

Our reflexions on the continuing deterioration of our working conditions

The weakening of the role of the European civil service is closely linked to the deterioration in our working conditions. The “management policies” which have been imposed on us are especially inappropriate for an organisation like the European Commission, which is a sophisticated model of regional integration.

These management policies and their related style have led to:

  • A constant decline in our “political and institutional usefulness”. We spend more time in tortuous bureaucratic procedures and in control / monitoring requirements than we spend in putting in place effective EU measures which would make full use of the extraordinary range of technical, legal and scientific ability and experience of our staff; or than we spend in developing our capacity to take political initiatives designed to further European integration.
  • Constant, widespread and futile conflicts between financial authorising officers and accountants.
  • Discord over any decision involving an element of risk. With our current structure and procedures, it is increasingly difficult to find a manager who can take responsibility for decisions, since responsibilities have been scattered throughout the management chain.
  • Increasing outsourcing of European programmes to Member States, to the UN, to the World Bank or to private agencies.
  • Tendency to direct Commission intervention to areas where it is easier to manage the financing rather than to more relevant but more complicated tasks.
  • Demoralisation of Commission staff who are more and more put off by bureaucratic tasks devoid of any added value or contribution to the European public good.
  • Risk of loss of skills. Commission officials are becoming undifferentiated, interchangeable manipulators of procedures.
  • Increase in management costs with little or no improvement in results.
  • Risk that the Commission loses touch with reality and with the European citizens it is supposed to serve.
  • Lack of visibility of action to implement truly European policies.

The time has therefore come to elect staff representatives who will:

  • Insist on our right to express our views on the way in which our work is organised
  • Ensure that our professional abilities are really recognised, used to the full and enhanced
  • Tackle the practical problems of our poor working conditions which are a consequence of ill-conceived procedures
  • Recognize the expertise and experience contributed by staff on short-term contracts

By pursuing this agenda, we are not only defending our own interests but we hope to turn the Commission into an efficient organization capable of making the European project a reality. 

Work towards staff unity and the convergence of their interests

Over the last 5 years, we have seen a worrying development in the departments of our European institutions: the segmentation of Community staff, a classic expression of the traditional divide and rule.

  • The fate of our colleagues in the European Parliament, the Council, the ESC and other institutions is increasingly divergent from our own. Whether in terms of promotion, social policy or status.
  • Within the European Commission, divisions are appearing between old and new civil servants.
  • There is also a big divide between civil servants and non-civil servants, who are growing in number but have different statuses (contract agents, SNEs, etc.).
  • Within the group of Contract Agents, a distinction is made between those who have non-renewable three-year contracts and those who can hope for access to an open-ended contract. There is a difference in treatment between those working at head office and those in the Delegations or Agencies.

This segmentation reduces the independence and strength of the institution and leads to divisions between particular interests that make it increasingly difficult to defend the collective interest.

This segmentation or division of the workforce as a whole is not accidental: it obeys both a short-term economic rationale and a medium- and long-term political rationale.

This policy seeks to reduce wage costs in the short term, but it also aims to gradually transform the nature of the Commission institution by undermining its independence, which has been in place for some time.

This process is underway, but it is not yet complete. We know that, following the report of the three Directors-General, there are plans to go even further by increasing the divisions and differences in treatment between multiple categories of staff. We are also witnessing the rise of corporatist demands among some staff: since overall demands are stagnating, the temptation is strong for everyone to look after their own interests first.

There is still time to counter this by working towards the convergence of staff interests and demands within and between institutions. This approach must be based on simple principles, those which differentiate real trade union action from corporatist action, principles based on the real place occupied by employees within the institution :

  • “Equal pay for equal work”,
  • “sustainable employment, sustainable contract”, (reduction of precarious situations),
  • public tasks, public management (refusal to privatise tasks),
  • a clearly open-ended mission, an open-ended contract (when the mission is already being carried out by a contract worker).
  • It also means rejecting discrimination based on gender or age, etc.

But to apply these principles a collective effort is needed, involving all the staff concerned and trying to force the unity of the trade union organisations! It is crucial to avoid the development of corporatism which, on the pretext of supporting one category rather than another, will contribute to the fragmentation of the interests of all staff, thus favouring the administration’s petty games. With this in mind, we are proposing a number of coherent demands that will enable us to support together the different categories of colleagues who work in our institution.

1. SNEs:

  • period of employment within the institutions systematically up to 7 years (duration of financial programming)
  • the right to vote in staff elections, after one year’s employment
  • free and unpaid access to crèches, nurseries and community schools
  • exclusion of SNE years from the anti-cumulative rule that limits presence within departments
  • possibility for SNEs with 3 years’ seniority in the Community institutions to take internal competitions for permanent appointment

2. Service providers:

  • internalisation of all service providers (language teachers, caretakers, nursery staff, etc.) under the Contract Agent scheme after serious professional selection tests
  • in the case of Offices and Agencies, granting contracts for an indefinite period – free and unpaid access to crèches, nurseries and community schools

3. Contract agents:

  • Maximum duration of contracts increased from 3 to 7 years, with the possibility of converting contracts into open-ended contracts if the tasks performed are also open-ended.
  • Maintaining the EPSO selection tests, while refining their professional dimension
  • creation of “inter-institutional skills grants” enabling CAs, at the end of their contract, to work in other Community institutions.
  • maintenance for CAs of free and unpaid access to crèches, nurseries and Community schools, which some would like to call into question
  • the possibility for CAs with 3 years’ seniority within the Community institutions to take internal competitions for tenure, the success percentages of which will be negotiated with the administration by staff representatives.

4. Civil servants who took part in a competitive examination before 1 May 2004:

  • ensure that civil servants recruited after 1 May 2004 have the same career as those recruited before that date. This can be achieved by accelerating their current careers.
  • set up monitoring indicators and adopt corrective measures if necessary

5. Ensuring careers for women

  • introduce real monitoring of women’s careers, based on equivalent qualifications and experience, in line with the principle of “equal merit, equal career”.
  • establish career plans to make up for lost time

6. For the 50+:

  • introduce effective monitoring to ensure that the experience of “seniors” is not sterilised, 10 to 15 years before they retire
  • guarantee their professional recognition
  • establish functional positions for the 50+.
  • develop coordination, support (task forces), tutoring, training and coaching functions for new civil servants for the 50+.
  • give them an important role in information policy vis-à-vis civil society
  • limit the number of compulsory transfers and support those that are necessary by allocating additional posts to DGs hosting “senior” civil servants
  • introduce lifelong training courses

7. Inter-institutional level

  • promoting the inter-institutional mobility of officials and other staff
  • developing inter-institutional training
  • approximate standards in terms of social policy and promotion
  • developing strictly inter-institutional services