Editorial

Newsletter editorial – 15-09-2022

Welcome to the Generation 2004 Newsletter of 15 September 2022.  We’ve been looking at the working time and hybrid working decision, collecting examples of how the new rules are being implemented in different DGs and looking forward to contributing to general Commission-wide guidelines via the new WTHW joint committee. Tied in with the WTHW decision and the ‘new normal’, is an evaluation of whether working from home is truly voluntary (especially when several Commission buildings were closed during the summer, ostensibly to save energy, will they be closed again in winter?).

One of the many issues we have with working from home is the additional cost, particularly for utilities. This is significant in the context of the Council request to further reduce spending on staff. Costs disproportionately affect our colleagues who earn less and for those whose earnings buy less. Luxembourg-based colleagues, check whether you qualify for the new state aid on accommodation costs (the Commission itself is fully committed to doing nothing).

In other news, we present the first in our new series of ‘it happened to me’ with the case of Schrödinger’s reimbursement, and we continue on the topic of health with a long read on the culture of burnout and a look at how the annual medical check-up is to be done for the foreseeable future in Brussels.  There have been big changes in Luxembourg with the change in the electoral rules for November 2022. In terms of events, we have a series of lunchtime events planned with a contract-agent-focussed look at the future. Last, but not least, we are recruiting a Brussels-based IT specialist, feel free to let your IT-savvy colleagues know!

That’s it now for now! Enjoy the reading and get in touch if you believe we can help!

Newsletter editorial – 08-07-2022

Welcome to the Generation 2004 Newsletter of  8 July 2022.

Check our holiday checklist before leaving the office: it’s important to disconnect! For those of you with a little more time, we address the needs of cancer survivors and of all colleagues whose complex situations are not well covered by the current patchwork of rules. We also recommend there that any new absence/sickness management decision be linked to the anticipated anti-harassment decision. On the topic of harassment/bullying, check out the results of the HR March 2021 (yes, that year is correct) survey (the one with the optional section on harassment) now available under Reports/metrics.

In terms of falling between the cracks of any Commission rules (in any sphere) we would love to hear your stories: we plan to publish them (without identifying features) in our new ‘it happened to me’ column.  Disappointingly, we don’t have to look far for examples of unfortunate situations. One is that of some of our Local Agent colleagues who have lost acquired rights with the new contract, in spite of assurances. Similarly, some colleagues are to be moved to a non-EU Commission building in a less secure neighbourhood of Brussels (some of these colleagues were moved from Luxembourg (Chafea), specifically to be geographically close to their colleagues!) sign our petition to show them you care!

In the absence of Commission-wide guidelines,  DGs and agencies are doing their own thing in applying the working-time decision. Local Agent (LA) colleagues in Delegations take a critical look at their new hybrid working rules, will the promised flexibility become reality? We ask you all to tell us what you think of the new rules on working time and hybrid working. While the EEAS has a different timetable and will publish its Contract Agent reclassification list in July, the promotion/reclassification appeal deadlines are extended throughout the Commission for anyone who is out of the office: if this affects you, check out our instructions. Generation 2004 is also offering training for the internal competitions: join us for the free webinar! Just in time for the school holidays we look at the debate on the future of the Brussels European schools and ask you to please sign our corresponding petition to show your support!

That’s it now for now! Enjoy the reading and get in touch if you believe we can help!

Newsletter editorial – 17-06-2022

Welcome to the Generation 2004 Newsletter of 17 June 2022.

Promotions, Promotions, Promotions!!! The promotion proposals season is upon us and the list of proposed colleagues will soon be published. If your name is on the list, congratulation, you will most surely be promoted this year. However, if you are not proposed but you believe you should be, then there is still hope because you may appeal against the non-proposal decision! In this case, to maximize your Promotion chances on appeal phase, make sure join us today in our conference on how to draft your appeal. We hope to see you there!

In today’s edition we also delve into the Local Agents hiring practices in the EU Delegations and how the current state of affairs demotivates colleagues big way.

We cast an eye over the current two crisis in the European Schools. In Brussels, two potentially damning reorganization plans are now under discussion; we look into the matter and explain what is at stake. The second crisis, that affects all European Schools is related to the precarious employment conditions of the locally recruited teachers.

Further, we look into a few things that make Contract Agents very frustrated with how the Commission treats them.

IT security is also covered, especially how the recently launched mandatory training and related policies seem to be a bit off the mark.

Finally, in older but still worthy news, we cover how Generation 2004’s proposal to reform the very defective Luxembourg Local Staff Committee electoral system, fell short of just a handful of votes to be adopted. It’s disappointing but we will not give up the fight!

That’s it now for now! Enjoy the reading and get in touch if you believe we can help!

Newsletter editorial – 07-06-2022

Welcome to one more Newsletter  of Generation 2004.

In this issue we cover the very first general intermediary salary update. Colleagues in some Delegations were already used to it but unfortunately due to the dire crisis we are traversing the intermediary salary update clause kicked in for everyone in the EU pay-roll.

We also make a first assessment of the new rules on Working Time and Hybrid Working, and while at it we also launch a survey to help us better take the pulse of the ‘new normal’.

Ukraine and more specifically its refugees in Belgium still needs all our help and  to this end Generation 2004 joined a joint action with the other unions to request help from colleagues.

We also revisit the eternal drama of internal competitions with all it’s quirks and stress.

Finally we cover the situation around the yearly ‘surprise’ closure of the European Schools academic year; no explanation or sorry included!

Oh! And of course you should keep in mind that the season for appeals for non-proposal for promotion is soon upon us and, with it comes our yearly conference on the art of drafting your appeal and our offer to help you draft your text to make sure you maximize your chances of succeeding!

So, enough said, enjoy the reading!

Newsletter editorial – 13-04-2022

Welcome to the Easter edition of the Generation 2004 Newsletter. Today we take a close look at the Junior Professionals Programme: what are its objectives and has it reached them? We update you on the new home leave decision 2022, an important factor for colleagues who work really far from home. If you are among the many colleagues who want to help Ukrainian refugees, you will be happy to learn that DG HR has reacted to our request that more days of volunteering work should be recognized for this.

If you are interested in the internal competitions, you must not miss our latest information on it. And finally, we present you a summary of the many changes introduced by the new decision on working time and hybrid working.

We hope that you enjoy this edition and we wish you a happy and safe Easter. If you think that we have missed anything important, please get in touch!

Newsletter editorial – 16-03-2022

Welcome to the Generation 2004 Newsletter. Today we mark 2 years of mandatory teleworking for most of us: we discuss the ongoing and increasing costs of teleworking and digital overload. We also take a look at the situation in Ukraine for colleagues who remain there (we are still collecting signatures to support our list of actions) and clarify the rules on volunteering. Continuing with Outside the Union, we present the court case won by local agent colleagues in Turkey and note that today is the last day for many local agents to submit their self-assessment text. We consider the perfect storm of the (latest) return to the office and infrastructure upgrades in Luxembourg: many of us will feel the benefit eventually … We invite you to compare actions taken with the words expressed in the context of International Women’s Day and on the topic of action, those of you in Brussels of Luxembourg why not join us for a walk outside?

So, that’s it for this edition, thanks to all of you for your support, ideas and feedback: please keep it coming! If there’s a topic you’d like to see us tackle, whether as an article or as an event, please get in touch!

Take care, stay healthy and enjoy reading!

Newsletter editorial – 22-02-2022

Welcome to the Generation 2004 Newsletter. We continue on the topic of the career development review (CDR) process with a look at the options available in response to an evaluation of ‘unsatisfactory’: we’re here for you! Career development is also one of the issues we raised in our contract agent petition: it is with the European Parliament, please sign it (again)!

We warmly thank all of you who voted in this last year, particularly those of you who voted for us! Generation 2004 presents the results of the most recent election: Brussels and representations. We also present the mixed messages on the working time and hybrid working decision concerning the core time used by many DGs in Luxembourg. Does this affect you? Please remember too (particularly those who’ve seen utilities and accommodation increase in price) that our Survey on rise in energy bills for those working from home is still open, please participate!

Generation 2004 is again recruiting! We have an opening for a secretary to join our team.  We would also like anyone in delegations who is interested in getting involved in elections there to get in touch.

We continue to offer training and events: there are new training dates for those planning to retire soon. And any of you finding yourselves in Brussels or Luxembourg (even just for a day!), come for a walk with us; let’s get outside and away from our screens!

So, that’s it for this edition, thanks to all of you for your support, ideas and feedback: please keep it coming! If there’s a topic you’d like to see us tackle, whether as an article or as an event, please get in touch!

Take care, stay healthy and enjoy reading!

Newsletter editorial – 10-02-2022

Welcome to the Generation 2004 Newsletter. We invite you to join us on Monday 15 for a discussion on the new HR strategy, a big part of which relates to the attractiveness of the Commission as an employer, which brings us to the new decision on working time and hybrid working (WTHW). We pushed for the WTHW negotiations to be continued since the current text does not yet contain all of the requirements you gave us, but we were alone in this.  On this same topic, in this newsletter we address the current gap in provision for the 10 teleworking-from-outside-the-place-of-employment days by suggesting a simple solution, we also show you how to make the best use of the leave options and flexibility days available. Please remember that our Survey on rise in energy bills for those working from home is still open, please participate! Work/life balance is important and Generation 2004 will continue to do its best to keep informing you on your rights in addition to inviting those of you finding yourselves in Brussels and Luxembourg (even just for a day!) to come for a walk with us; let’s get outside and away from our screens!

So, that’s it for this edition, thanks to all of you for your support, ideas and feedback: please keep it coming!

Take care, stay healthy and enjoy reading!

Newsletter editorial – 28-01-2022

Welcome to the third Generation 2004 Newsletter of 2022. Those of you who joined us in taking action against the internal competition will have received confirmation that you are not eligible, we set out the next steps here.  Having found nothing out there already that serves the needs of AST/SCs we have decided to launch a forum: why not join? We have a look at the rules for activities outside the Commission (or after the Commission).

We again invite you to participate in our ongoing survey on your utility bills, this is your chance to provide concrete examples! Get your bills out, tell us how the additional costs of teleworking are affecting you!

To those of you still working on writing your self-assessment, we are still here to help! And to those of you preparing for the dialogue part of the process, we remind you that we have some tips.

Again, remember that you have only until Monday 31.01.2022 to request the transfer of annual leave remaining from 2021: please don’t lose days if you can avoid it!

So, that’s it for this edition, thanks to all of you for your support, ideas and feedback: please keep it coming!

Take care, stay healthy and enjoy reading!

Newsletter editorial – 21-01-2022

Welcome to the second Generation 2004 Newsletter of 2022 and to the end of the third week back at work for most of us. We invite you to participate in our only-just-published survey on your utility bills and to read our corresponding article on the additional costs of working from home, this time in the context of the rising energy prices. We have an event planned for next week (27.01.2022), where you can discuss all and everything related to this topic, bring your bills! Tell us how the costs are affecting you!

To those of you writing your self-assessment, we are still here to help! And to those of you preparing for the dialogue part of the process, here are some tips.

We have a further event organised on the ongoing move to an open-plan, hot-desking set-up (03.02.2022): while this may not seem to be particularly relevant while the vast majority of us continue to work from home, this process continues unchanged and this may well be the set-up that many of us will go back to.

We remind you that you have until 31.01.2022 to request the transfer of annual leave remaining from 2021: please don’t lose days if you can avoid it!

A big thank you to those of you who got in touch about the article on the increase in step to give us a concrete example of how contract agents might see no additional salary even after several steps (we added the example to the article).

So, that’s it for this second edition, thanks to all of you for your support, ideas and feedback: please keep it coming!

Take care, stay healthy and enjoy reading!