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X 2012 Christmas 2012

A Little Bit of Good News at Christmas
A Little Bit of Good News at Christmas

The original draft of the deformed Staff Regulation foresaw giving only temporary contracts to newly hired secretaries. SID criticized this move to make still more (thousands) of colleagues precarious as follows; "2% Feminism versus 98% Misogynism

As usual, the biggest of the minorities to be targeted for extra, compulsory sacrifices is that of the women. You see, it is foreseen to stop recruiting secretaries into the AST (administrative assistant) category. In the future they will receive only temporary contracts. This will lead to salary cuts beyond the 26.5%. Worse; job security will pretty much disappear.
The Disappointing Authority is well aware that 99%+ of the secretaries happen to be female. Students of EU law have a word for painful measures that apply only to one group of people but not to the rest; indirect discrimination. The good news is that once a court has determined the occurrence of indirect discrimination, it places the burden of proof squarely on the party accused of unfairness. This justifies hope that our secretaries can regain their status in court even if the Commission decides to show its implicit Misogynism explicitly by attacking them.
When asked about this problem, Commissioner Reding replied that 60% of the middle and 80% of the top management in the Directorate General under her control were women. That takes care of the 2% at the top of her organisation chart. SID will support those among the lower 98% who are willing to defend themselves; in Court, in Parliament and through patient, subtle resistance."

It is glad tidings to report that SID's vehement protest, which was supported by other unions, had some positive effect because the next draft generously gave secretaries access to lasting jobs in the public service. Probably concern over having indirect discrimination exposed to the Court of Justice and to the public helped.

Still, these permanent jobs were to be poorly paid, from 2.160 for a beginner to 3.800 after decades of experience on the job. Even with subsequent slight increases by the European Parliament, there were concerns. The ever thrifty Court of Auditors worried about the high cost of low salaries;
""Changes to the career structure
12. The proposal introduces a new staff category ‘AST/SC’ for secretaries and clerks in addition to the existing function groups for administrators (AD) and for assistants (AST). The pay level proposed for AST/SC entry grades will, in some circumstances, make it difficult to recruit staff with the linguistic skills required by the nature of the institutions’ work and to maintain geographical balance."
The traditional role of the Auditors has been to keep expenses down. When they warn that pay in the lowest categories as planned will be too low, that raises an alarm. The AST/SC are an important link in the chain which holds the system together, just as important as any link. The Court of Justice, which has high linguistic standards, is already stretching the current regulations in order to boost secretaries' pay and get the needed level of multi-lingual fluency from the labour market.
The fourth plank of SID's Platform goes well with the Auditors' warning; "4. ROTTEN PAY ROTTEN WORK; this old IWW proverb was true in the Chicago of 1905 and it is true today.""

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%?

Sorry to end this article on a grim note, but it is better to see what is going on. That you are reading this is already one reason to hope. Another reason to hope is that the protests of a few unions got the future secretaries of Europe job security and slightly higher salaries.

If you want more, don't look under the Christmas tree, look in the mirror.

Season's Greetings!

Created by: admin last modification: Friday 14 of December, 2012 [12:30:28 UTC] by admin

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