Editorial

Newsletter editorial – 09-01-2023

Welcome to the second Generation 2004 Newsletter of 2023. In the last 2 weeks we have assisted 274 colleagues with their evaluation text and we’re still here if you need us! That first promotion/reclassification  event was attended by 967 colleagues (a new record!) and we now follow-up with a lunchtime event on how to increase your chances of getting a promotion/reclassification (Monday 30 January). Here, the focus is on explaining the next steps in the process and we thank all of the colleagues who provided information to enable us to fill the gaps in our table.

Please don’t miss out on your rights! You have until Tuesday 31 January to request the transfer of more than 12 days of annual leave. We are deeply disappointed to see that the sysper automation  has not (yet) happened. Please also note that the annual medical check-up remains working time, in spite of the recent changes.

We continue to ask for your assistance in our ongoing follow-up survey on utilities costs.

So, that’s it for this 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 – 09-01-2023

A very happy and healthy new year to you all and welcome to the first Generation 2004 Newsletter of 2023! We appreciate that this is a busy moment for you all: between getting back into the swing of things, writing your self-assessment and navigating the modified promotion/reclassification process (event, please join us!), sometimes there’s not much time left over to ensure that you’re not missing out on what is due to you. Nevertheless, please do take a moment to check your annual leave remaining from 2022 and the options open to you, please note also that you have 10 new days of teleworking from anywhere (TWA) for 2023, please try to make full use of them. For those of you who do not find your name on the Certification list, act fast, you still have time to appeal. We also ask for your assistance in our ongoing follow-up survey on utilities costs. We are looking for a colleague to join our team: please have a look!

So, that’s it for this first 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 – 19-12-2022

Welcome to this, the 17th and final edition of the Generation 2004 Newsletter for 2022. We wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year with a message from our chair. Generation 2004 is now 10 years old and we are happy with the most recent election results.  We share a potential quick fix for those with internal-competition language issues and we look at the additional and unreported costs related to the renewal of the laissez-passer. Our Harassment Watch Network colleagues have a new publication to coincide with the new anti-harassment framework and we provide an update on DG GROW. As ever, we proposed an end-of-year checklist for you and an invitation to our event on drafting your self-evaluation. In other news, our contract agent colleague has won his case against the Commission, well done! The Commission was wrong to apply the poast-2014 pension accrual and retirement age on him (‘Picard case’).  HR has now shared draft general guidelines to the Working Time and Hybrid Working (WTHW) decision.

Enjoy the reading and get in touch if you believe we can help!

Newsletter editorial – 29-11-2022

Welcome to this latest edition of the Generation 2004 newsletter. Generation 2004 again invites the Commission to show some flexibility in return for the exceptional flexibility shown by staff, the first step could be to pay the teleworking lump sum agreed in the new Working time decision. Please participate in our utilities bills survey: we want to compare results with last year’s survey to build a stronger case.

Generation 2004 lists the underwhelming ‘progress’ declared on the 12 actions for Luxembourg. Luxembourg colleagues, please vote!

We have managed to get a sysper error corrected, much to the relief of colleagues, let us know if you’d like us to check other worrying messages. We are pleased to note that helplines are available for HR, PMO and JSIS, please make use of them: don’t let these disappear in the next ‘use it or lose it’ round at the Commission.  We also outline the options remaining for those who were not reclassified/promoted this time round.

We have a number of free lunchtime events for you: on internal competitions, DGT/Translators, bullying/harassment,  contract agents and reclassification.

Enjoy the reading and get in touch if you believe we can help!

Newsletter editorial – 07-11-2022

Welcome to this latest edition of the Generation 2004 newsletter. We start with an outline of the unknowns on the very-short-notice permanent closure of the HTC building in Luxembourg. In response to your input, we clarify the process for interim staff to attend training, look at the discriminatory treatment given to AST/SC colleagues at the EEAS and the unnecessary sharing of personal information in Sysper. We offer a workshop webinar on the AD 6 competition, explain how the 4.5% salary adjustment works and remind you to use up the 10 TWA days. We also take a look at two ongoing Court cases which have the potential to set precedents for many of us. The first deals with the long-running Picard case which relates to pension and retirement rights lost by a contract agent colleague on renewing his contract: When is an upgrade not an upgrade? The second case is more recent and relates to the very topical reimbursement of teleworking expenses: the Court says ‘no’.

Enjoy the reading and get in touch if you believe we can help!

Newsletter editorial – 25-10-2022

Welcome to this latest short-and-legal edition of the Generation 2004 newsletter. We take a look at two ongoing Court cases which have the potential to set precedents for many of us. We outline the current state of play and list the issues each one raises. The first deals with the long-running Picard case which relates to pension and retirement rights lost by a contract agent colleague on renewing his contract: When is an upgrade not an upgrade? The second case is more recent and relates to the very topical reimbursement of teleworking expenses: the Court says ‘no’.  These are long legal journeys and there are options still open to our colleagues, even though the answer may have been negative on this occasion.

Enjoy the reading and get in touch if you believe we can help!

Newsletter editorial – 14-10-2022

Welcome to this latest edition of the Generation 2004 newsletter. We look at the issues raised by the closure of buildings and planned reduction in office temperatures in Luxembourg and Brussels. In a less serious note, we present the future of workwear for the office and potentially also for home, to try to counter the increasing cost of utilities. Our training on resilience at work is unrelated to the Commission’s building policy, but every little helps! In other news, Luxembourg is consistently being promoted as a good place to live, but is this the whole story? The big story is that most (but not all staff) will see an adjustment to their salaries. Unfortunately, some of our colleagues in delegations are again left behind, whether in terms of the salary adjustment, inflation or the possibilities of working from home.  Again on the topic of delegations, our colleagues in Kyiv have also been invited to return physically to the office by the end of this month.

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

Newsletter editorial – 27-09-2022

Welcome to the Generation 2004 Newsletter of 27 September 2022. In this edition we start with looking for results from the 12 actions announced 6 months ago to make it easier to fill vacancies in Luxembourg.  We have a series of lunchtime events planned, starting today, with a contract-agent-focussed look at the future, this links with an update on internal competitions and our ongoing contract agent petition: please register and sign!  The next Generation 2004 event takes place on Tuesday 4 October and looks at all things AST, particularly the approaching deadline for application for the 2022/23 certification exercise.  Unfortunately, our petition on AST/SC issues has come to a halt, with the conclusion that the Commission ‘does not consider that the AST/SC staff members are treated unfairly’. We are checking out what further options we have there. And finally, we present a medical ‘control’ during sick leave FAQ: what it is, how to respond and how to challenge outcomes if you don’t agree.

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

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!