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More on the Deform of our Staff Regulations
Trade Unions
More on the Deform of our Staff Regulations;

Amendments to Our Staff Regulations in the European Parliament's

Legal Affairs Committee

The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament had an exchange of views about the amendments to our Staff Regulations on the 27.03.2012. This is page is not intended to be a full report of the meeting. We highlight some points that seem most interesting for Staff and SID.

A general observation; there were some Members who took the floor urge the deepest cuts as soon as possible and that made for some unpleasant listening, but the tone remained non-hysterical throughout the meeting. There were some amendments on the table that were very friendly to Staff interests; Jiří Maštálka proposed leaving our working time unchanged, but that did not find a majority. In a similar vein, Eva Lichtenberger defended travel allowances for large families, perhaps with better chances of success.

A second general observation; some Members made mistakes when speaking about the facts and legalities of our Staff Regulations. This is a fixture in representative democracy; the representatives can never know as much about what is really going on as the people whom they represent. The most threatening misunderstanding is that quite a few Members put too much faith in Staff evaluations and argue from the premise that evaluation reports are objective. This mislead one Member into demanding that we should be demoted after three consecutive bad reports and sacked after five. Fortunately, this proposal does not seem to have a majority either.

The Reporting Member was visibly making efforts to protect Staff from the worst excesses of austerity. But no one who spoke took this kind of clear anti-austerity stance (see also our Swedish version. The closest that some came to the sad truth was to say things along the lines of "the Member States, Council insist on some cuts … " with the implication that Parliament simply does not have enough political power to just say no. One Member pointed out that some Member States are demanding deeper cuts at the EU level than they are implementing nationally. Good point.

Reasonably enough, Members spent some of the time debating the rules covering their own Accredited Assistants. Naturally, they know more about what is happening in their own offices than in DG XYZ. This can also serve as a reminder of how important it is for us to reach out to our colleagues who work in the European Parliament.

There was a good deal of talk about fraud and the revolving doors between the Commission and corporations. One aspect that was overlooked; at the Commission, both in law and in fact, Staff promotions are at the discretion of top management. It is understandable that many colleagues close their eyes to evidence of misconduct on the part of those who control their careers. So far, even those whistleblowers whose allegations proved to be essentially correct and very important paid a high price for their commitment to the EU. Those who enjoy Parliamentary immunity should help to construct a European Witness Protection Program. Until that has been accomplished, the present writer urges all colleagues who harbour suspicions to take their concerns up with one of the Commission staff unions that respects ILO Convention 98 .One such union is SID. You should also take out legal insurance that covers you before the Civil Service Tribunal before you say or write the first word. Chances are that you will be needing it.

Ms Souka, Director General of Human Resources, spoke near the end of the exchange. The bad news is that she continues to be very excited about getting rid of 5% (=2.000) of the posts at the Commission, and at least another 5% in her own Directorate General. Hers is the logic (sic!) of downsizing which very fashionable in the United States automobile industry in the 1980s. It the Oriental and European competitors were taking away market share, so something had to be done to safeguard profits. Did they make better, more sustainable, safer, more affordable car? Of course not! The big automobile corporations used the structural problems to extort round after round of concessions from the small companies who supply them and, of course, from the people who actually make the cars. Major stockholders were happy for a few more years. A quarter of a century later we see the downsized corporations in free fall. The obsession with cutting X% of the posts is the public sector version of a failed corporate strategy. There is no connection between cutting jobs and boosting productivity because the decisions about what posts to keep and which to sacrifice are taken on the basis office politics and not of a rational analysis of how the Commission produces its output day to day. Europe faces at least three threatening crisis; financial, environmental and demographic. Re-allocating Staff according to those priorities makes good sense (and will impose enough sacrifices on the re-assigned Colleagues, thank you very much). What Europe needs is a smarter public service, not a smaller one.

Now for some good news from Ms Souka. As an example of how well the Commission listens to Parliament and unions she cited the decision to keep on hiring secretaries as AST assistants, albeit at seriously reduced benefits. We cannot know whether she or Ms Redding read this, but we are glad to have helped the secretaries to defend their job security.

More good news; the Director General spoke of the opening of Internal Competitions as a foregone conclusion, as though she had favoured it from the beginning of time. Many unions are also doing that without citing any precise dates and facts. Here is a refresher on what SID did starting in February 2009. Click here for more on Contract Agents.

The exchange of views has confirmed what SID has known since 2006 (when it was concealed inside another union); Parliament and Council decide the Staff Regulations and the EU Budget. Any worthwhile strategy to defend Staff must include the MEPs and their Assistants as key players.

Created by: admin last modification: Wednesday 28 of March, 2012 [15:41:36 UTC] by admin

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