Fact Checking

As most of you probably also are, Generation 2004 is fed up of reading staff representation tracts that are at least misleading and sometimes blatantly false. For this reason we have decided to create this column. Its name, Fact Checking, will be a place where we will try to regularly debunk these claims.You may also participate and help us. How? Well, it’s simple, if you see any message or statement from any union or staff association – Generation 2004 included – and that you find falls short in the realm of truthfulness, then just point it out to us and we will analyse it, get the straight dope on it and report back to all. Finally and obviously, unless otherwise explicitly requested we will keep our source anonymous.

While reporting back we not just expose the false claims but we will also explain what is Generation 2004`s position on the matter and show what could be done about it.

And to open the hostilities here goes our first Fact Checking section. We hope you enjoy the reading and find it useful.

On the feasibility of converting all Contract Agents into Officials

Recently an European Commission staff union said, in a rather well written and very articulate email tract that: “the integration of this same (Contract Agents – Ed.) population into the establishment plan could be carried out in a perfectly harmonious way”. If on one side Generation 2004 supports any measures to reduce precarious employment in the European civil service – and we know what we are talking about because we are probably the staff organisation with the strongest record on these matters; it is after all the major reason for our existence – on the other hand we keep our feet on the ground when we assess and communicate on what is or not possible to do. The fact is, under the current staff regulations, converting all the Contract Agents into permanent positions would be neither easy nor “harmonious”, and this is so for the fact that there is a rather low hard limit of 5% of annual hires that can be hired through internal competitions. This limitation, which emanated from a political decision, is set by the staff regulations under paragraph 7 of article 82 of the Condition of employment of other servants of the European Union – see page 212 and could only change if the staff regulations are again open for discussion.

On the same message, the same union went on to claim that such “integration” of Contract Agents staff could “even lead to real structural savings in the medium and long term”. They do so without substantiating their claim in any way shape or form. We therefore call on them to further clarify their statement and provide irrefutable reasoning and calculations to support it.

On the possible status of local staff committees following the upcoming staff representation reform  

A wave of blatantly false information regarding the extinction of local staff committees following the staff representation reform right now under discussion seems to apparently be developing at some sites outside of Brussels. You may have recently got some emails from organisations claiming that the new possible agreement on the reform of social dialog will bring no good to staff outside Brussels. Such messages, claiming that in the future local staff committees will be dismantled and no longer exist, are just false attempts to spread FUD: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. You can call it FAKE NEWS if you like.

At Generation 2004, we know the goal of these messages is to lobby for the status quo with its distorted version of democracy, which always results in weak staff committees run by a minority of people who got very little representativity when compared to the total number of expressed voices at elections.

During the discussions for the new staff representation agreement, Generation 2004 has proposed and has been fighting for a democratic, proportional and transparent system, with simultaneous election for all sites, with the same rules and with local representation of staff at all sites weather central or remote.

With this proposal, we would give staff more power for crucial social dialogs that are soon going to be on the table.

Spreading false information is absolutely against our principles and what the majority of colleagues wants and we ask ourselves if those who are spreading such news are really prepared to work for the staff or are only concerned about theirs longstanding positions and personal interests.

On the upward revision of the remuneration limit for external activities

Recently a trade union of the European Union claimed that after an initial social dialogue discussion where an upward revision of the remuneration ceiling for external activities of members of staff was achieved, they kept fighting alone and still managed to further push up the ceiling.

The fact is they would have never been able to do it on their own because, as per Article 18 of the Agreement on relations between the EC and the trade unions and the staff associations (page 7)  for a political concertation to be approved a minimum of 20% representativity is needed and that trade union has level of representation well below that threshold. In short, they may have some merit in keeping the flame alive on the matter but without the support of others they wouldn’t have achieved anything.

Now, to thank you for reading this far we would like to ask you a bonus quiz question: who do you think supported that trade union and made sure the political concertation on this matter was possible? Wait, wait, don’t answer yet; let’s all answer at the same time: Generation 2004 of course!!! You are a great audience, and now we rest our case! 🙂

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