Catch-22: Do as I say, not as I do

Here is a good example for a Catch-22 situationStaff on fixed-term contracts excluded from potential roles due to their fixed-term contracts. 

Generation 2004 again challenges the unequal treatment of staff, this time coming from what would ideally be the most unlikely of sources, the Local Staff Committee (LSC) in Brussels, which refused to interview those candidates who had ‘only a year left’ before hitting the arbitrary 7-year rule for their recent vacant post since it would be a ‘waste of time’. It is most unfortunate that an LSC would choose not to lead by example, choose not to seize this opportunity to take action and fulfil their declared responsibility to ‘represent the interests of the staff ’. But what can we expect from from Union for Unity (U4U) and Alliance, a coalition representing the interests of the already-relatively-well-looked-after?  [1]

It is already somewhat more difficult to recruit to the staff representation than it is to recruit elsewhere in the Commission. If applications from candidates approaching 6 years in the same institution are not welcome, be clear and transparent about this from the outset and don’t waste time and raise the hopes of colleagues who find themselves in this situation. To exclude candidates with proven experience in the institutions and who could be fully operational almost immediately from even being interviewed, in favour of recruiting people from outside the institutions, who might reasonably take up to a year to be fully operational, seems to be not only a false economy in terms of time, training, knowledge and skills but also a further slap in the face for our long-suffering colleagues with fixed-term contracts 

Are we to add to the list of abuses that our colleagues already experience that the final possible year of the arbitrary limit of seven will now be put beyond the reach of almost anyone, when even the organisation whose purpose it is to represent the interests of all staff chooses not to consider the merits of candidates with 6 years of experience in our institutions? Generation 2004 continues to highlight the many ‘abusive practices’, ‘Limited access to decent employment opportunities in the Institutions, insufficient job security and unfair working conditions’ and notes that we hear less and less ‘equal pay for equal work on the same working place’,  

Check out the latest figures from HR: 22.8% of Commission staff are now contract staff, that’s 7 478 colleagues on the conveyor belt of contracts until they drop off the end after 6 of the possible years. The figure for temporary agents is 4.7%: 1 535 colleagues. 

From our article on our petition in support of contract agents: ‘The European Commission, which preaches the principles of non-discrimination, transparency and equality of chances to EU Member States public administrations and society at large, is at the same time condoning the opposite inside its own premises’ … and it appears that the LSC Brussels is doing the same.  

Please sign our petition on contract agentsWe have collected almost 1 500 signatures so far! 

Let us know your experiences and what you think about this! 

[1] Alliance contains 5 trade unions or staff associations (OSPs) (DG HR, Human Resources in 2020 (p.91))

  • Renouveau & Démocratie (R&D)
  • Conférence des syndicats européens et syndicat des fonctionnaires européens (Conf. SFE)
  • Union syndicale Luxembourg (USL)
  • Solidarité européenne (SE)
  • Association des fonctionnaires indépendants pour la défense de la fonction publique européenne (TAO-AFI)

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