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March8 2013 01

March 8; Hot Air and a Salary Cut
Trade Unions
Women
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March 8; Hot Air and a Salary Cut


In the light of actions against secretaries that the Commission made, its words about gender equality are to be dismissed. Recall that it first proposed to make the secretaries precarious Contract Agents and only took that back after vehement protests from SID and all other unions.

Even the Court of Auditors has questioned the Commission’s compulsive saving at women’s expense. But none of this got the Commission’s attention back to low income hard working women.

One summary of the AST/SC situation is that their careers go from AST-2 up to AST+3 rather than from AST+1 to AST+9 no matter how many decades they work for the great European project. This is especially dismaying in the light of Commissioner Reding's initiative to get more women on the boards of directors of major corporations. With the low beginning salaries our secretaries will need well-off husbands if they want to raise children, unless the welfare systems of the host countries come to their rescue. Do we want to live in a society where working incomes are so low that children become the number one cause of parents slipping down below the poverty line? At a time when millions of women lose their jobs all over Europe, when Greek mothers are giving up their children, and when the EU's secretaries are having their life time earnings cut in half, the Commissioner indulges in a high-profile publicity stunt that benefits only a few thousand already wealthy women. Her priorities are still with the richest 2% of the women. Where does that leave the 98%?

For what it’s worth, this is another U-turn without explanation. In the 2004 Reform the Commission had proposed a single career stream for all employees and then accepted having just two; AD and AST. Less than a decade later, it heads in the opposite direction by creating a clearly distinct second class AST; the AST/SC. This is reminiscent of the way its staff evaluation and promotion system was reformed, then re-reformed and once more re-re-reformed into what it had been before 2004 during the last eight years. By making secretaries start and end their careers lower than male employees, the Commission is displaying a combination of Misogynism and self doubt. After all, if the promotions were really based on objective merit, there could be no need to build in an extra low glass ceiling over secretaries’ heads.

The new Staff Regulation will eventually be established by the ordinary legislative procedure. For all eternity after that day, the “privileged” applicants (major EU Institutions and Member States) will have the right to challenge them before the Court of Justice. This will probably not happen because the privileged applicants are the ones who made the Regulation in the first place.

We, the half-billion ordinary Europeans, are the “non-privileged applicants” and have six weeks after publication to challenge the new Staff Regulation on the basis that it blatantly discriminates against women.

Such an operation is well beyond the means of SID on its own, but if other unions and women’s groups step up, SID will join in.















Created by: ashbrmi last modification: Thursday 07 of March, 2013 [11:29:20 UTC] by admin

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