The “Near you”
by R&D, Conf-SFE, U4U, USHU
Foreword: Let’s keep the negative effects of the reform to a minimum, and insist that promises are kept
The plenary session of the Personnel Committee which was held last week offered an opportunity to bring all current issues up to date and to ensure that our demands are acknowledged.
NEAR will be sure to keep you informed of the outcomes of the discussions as soon as possible – we need action, not just words!
In actual fact, the effects of the Staff Regulation Reform are already in evidence: drastic cuts to leave already granted (the same number as at head office, in other words, 24 instead of 42…), less favourable conditions for the reimbursement of annual travel expenses (economy class), more restrictive rules and less favourable conditions for accommodation expense claims. The result is that the discontent within the Delegations is palpable. The CA [Contract Agent] Colleagues have launched a "work to rule" initiative in protest. This is a very clear indication of the fact that social dialogue is frozen and all concerned have just had enough.
NEAR is behind you! Innovative solutions must be found to offset the effects of the reform and to reignite hope. One option would be to hold qualification-bearing competitive exams for the CAs as promised.
Our determination will be made clear at the opening of the GEP (General Execution Provisions) negotiations relating to personnel on Delegation (Annexe X). Now is the time to act: we must move into damage limitation mode, particularly as regards colleagues holding positions in difficult locations. Particular attention will be paid to the new CLI [Cost of Living Index] calculation system and the granting of R&R leave. A clear method and a fair system must be set up, even if it affects only a percentage of personnel on Delegation.
We are working closely with the Commission Staff Representatives, particularly as regards ex-Union staff. The candidates who won the staff elections in the ex-Union sector are also NEAR candidates, made up of the same Staff Associations.
But it isn’t all over yet! At the present time no guarantees are in place for current personnel, in the context of the 5% cut decided upon for all the Institutions. After the Zero Based Review and the WLAD, should we now expect further restrictions, given that the service is finding it all but impossible to do everything asked of it with the present allocation?
Local Agents Promotion Exercise
The Promotion Exercise for Local Agents was launched on 30th September.
Salary adjustments for 2011/2012/2013/2014 and pension contribution adaptation rate for 2011/2012/2013: what can we expect?
In the wake of the entry into force of the new Staff Regulation, there will be no staff salary adaptation for 2013 (a loss of approximately 0.5%) nor 2014.
On the plus side, there is every reason to expect that the Court will find in our favour regarding the 2011/2012 adjustments. The sum involved, including interest because of the delay, should stand at around the equivalent of 85% of a salary, which will probably be paid at the end of the year.
On the question of the pension contribution adaptation rate, the cumulative impact for the years 2011/2012/2013 will probably also be the equivalent of 85% of a salary. This sum will probably be paid in 2014.
CAs: united action as of now
The CAs have won contracts extending for up to 6 years in the central departments of the Institutions and the right to sit the internal qualification-bearing competitive exams.
In concert with the Contract Agents’ Collective, NEAR is calling for the holding of a qualification-bearing competitive exam in 2014. It is also pressing for the re-hiring, as promised, of CAs whose contracts expired before the reform was adopted.
Along with the colleagues in the Commission and the agencies, NEAR recommends the development of a new staff policy for contract staff, one which will include solutions for career development, horizontal and vertical mobility, etc. with a view to scrapping the purely administrative management of staff in these areas.
Staff Regulation reform and the Member States
The Council has just voted for the reform of the Staff Regulation. The signing of the new Regulation will take place in Strasbourg on October 23 2013, and is set to come into force on January 1 2014.
The agreement has not even been signed yet, and already some Member States are regretting having missed their chance to modernise (i.e. ‘cripple’) the European Public Service. They are promising to re-enter the fray in the upcoming years with a view to seeking yet further reforms.
We must all be on our guard in the defence of the European Public Service.
Editor : G. Vlandas - Editorial team : F. Kopp, M.-A. Maurer, B. Soret, J.-P. Soyer, S. Thakkar