Wake-up call for the administration – Voter apathy and low voter turnout in the LSC elections for outside the Union

It is one thing for management to want and aspire to be a modern employer and to talk about flexitime, teleworking, green policies, gender balance for management roles, equality, zero tolerance for harassment; and another thing completely when we see the brutal realities now.

  • Flexitime policy: yes, this exists but its implementation and actually using it to improvement work-life balance is a rare find in Delegations. It is supposed to be a right, but it comes with limitations such as that time worked after 19:00 will not be recognised. Is that really “flexi”?
  • Career development: management talk about a human resources policy that develops its most important asset – the people. But if you move from one group to another, your experience will not be recognised and might even be completely discarded. What is the reality? You take on more responsibility, more tasks, but this extra effort makes only a marginal change in your salary. Is this career development or an elaborate model to create a cheaper workforce?
  • Team leaders: a title that translates to more responsibility, tasks and peer recognition. Why is financial recognition missing? A leader who has the same salary level as everyone else – is this really a career improvement?
  • Harassment policy: this talks about zero tolerance – but harassment, bad management, a toxic environment and negativity exist. Hierarchy can and do take advantage of “sub-delegations” to create their own empires and their own rules. There are Delegations that, even in the most extreme situation of COVID-19, still deny teleworking when there are clear guidelines from the European External Action Service (EEAS). Is the tolerance level to harassment really zero?
  • COVID-19 rules: for those of us lower down on the  EU career-structure ladder, violating the rules can result in the termination of our contract; but for management, the consequence would never be the same. Is this really an inclusive approach and equality?
  • Salary-review exercise: the way it is done is dictated (Yes! it is dictated, because the proposal from the trade unions and staff associations (OSPs) are never taken into consideration). So the number of comparators is dictated and with whom the comparison needs to be done is dictated. You will not feel the reduction of salary the moment the review exercise is finished but you will surely in 6-12 months afterwards, where you can see that your purchasing power is reduced.
  • Home leave: after reducing annual leave by almost 50%, home leave was a hope for change. But staff have been waiting for years, and the social dialogue is still in process. Does management really care about work-life balance? Where colleagues from thousands of kilometres away are expected to use all their annual leave days to connect with families and friends?

It is time to see the truth. When elections are organised we see an extremely low turnout. After almost one week of voting only 38% of voters have cast their votes.

[..]Higher voter turnout is in most cases a sign of the vitality of democracy, while lower turnout is usually associated with voter apathy and mistrust of the political process. [..] (Solijonov, A., Voter Turnout Trends around the World, International Institute for Democracy and electoral assistance, 2016)

Staff simply know it: it does not matter who represents them because the elected staff representatives will not make a change when the social dialogue is one-sided. When political consultation is not granted; when all demands are countered by the argument that “we need to be budget neutral” or else we will decrease the number of posts (NB: this is an upfront threat of lost of employment); when staff interests can never compete with “interest of the services”.

Elections are a good time for management to truly understand the sentiments of staff. It is a wake-up call to see and address the list of issues with honesty and humbleness.

NO, THINGS ARE NOT FINE!

Generation 2004 sincerely hope that after the election is concluded we can have a candid and constructive dialogue to tackle all these relevant and real issues. They have always been brushed aside, ignored and swept under the carpet. It is time to dig them out and tackle them, once and for all!

Your Generation 2004 Delegation team  insists that:

  • flexibility to telework for staff in Delegation must be provided;
  • teleworking should, however, not be made mandatory;
  • legal basis for exceptional teleworking outside place of employment should be provided for in the upcoming decisions;
  • teleworking is an important element for better work-life balance

Generation 2004 will further update you of the developments on this subject. If you have any specific comment/opinion, please feel free to share your feedback. We will compile the input and ensure that they are presented in the social dialogue meetings between your elected representatives and HR on how the rules will be applied for Delegations.

If you want to be part of the change and contribute to shape our common future please engage with us and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be always updated on the latest news and upcoming events.

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