Newsletter #23 – Jun 2017

Promotions: why are some years good and some other years bad?

You might have been promoted this year, or not promoted… We have argued many times that the current promotion system is flawed but why is there so much uncertainty in the system? Part of the explanation lies in the so-called “wave effect”. Basically, if you are in a grade with increasing population, for instance because of the arrival of a wave of colleagues promoted from the grade below, the mathematical peculiarities of Annex IB of the Staff Regulations result in a temporary increase in the quota of promotions available for that grade (see Annex 1 below for a theoretical example). Conversely, if you are in a grade with decreasing population, there will at some stage be a temporary decrease in the quota of promotions available for your grade. As a result, if you are lucky to be in “growing” grade, you might be promoted quickly just because “you are riding the front of the wave”. If you are in a “shrinking” grade, you might have to wait longer than normal to get your promotion just because you are “floating” on the “tail of the wave”. Continue reading Promotions: why are some years good and some other years bad?

Pensions and Brexit

Generation 2004 regularly alerts the staff with respect to the sustainability of our pension scheme. Commissioner Oettinger seems to agree with us (“He therefore recommended a rigorous [budgetary] approach, particularly as there would be a considerable increase in the cost of EU officials’ pensions in the coming years“, see middle of page 14 in the Minutes of the last meeting of the College in May). Some more reasons to worry according to an article in The Guardian: an “EU diplomat” is quoted as saying “we cannot trade pensions for the MFF” [during the Brexit negotiations]. Let us hope that this diplomat really means what (s)he said. The fact that the Brexit Task Force has so far not bothered informing the staff about what is in preparation with respect to the employees of the institutions, not even those who have British origins, almost a year after the Brexit referendum, is not a good sign. The article in The Guardian emphasises that the EU has promised transparency, as opposed to the UK negotiators who apparently want secrecy. We have some doubts about this transparency pledge by the EU, see top of page 4 of our May newsletter. Continue reading Pensions and Brexit

Social Dialogue on “External Activities”

The Commission is currently revising its implementing rules on so-called “external activities”. These rules are meant to prevent conflicts of interest, either real or perceived, when active or former EU officials take on jobs or other duties outside of the institutions. Generation 2004 has been the most vocal staff organisation during the negotiations to denounce the fact that the rules proposed by the Commission make no distinctions between staff categories and between precarious staff and permanent staff: whether you are a former Director General looking for activities to keep yourself busy during retirement or a CA3b who is being kicked-out of the Institutions because your contract has reached the 6-year cliff makes no difference in DG HR’s mind. Continue reading Social Dialogue on “External Activities”

Petition on the future of Contract Agents

The NPS forum, with the active support of one of our members, is launching a petition on employment conditions and career prospects for the non-permanent employees and contractual agents at the European institutions. Follow this link to read the text of Petition 0178/2017. We encourage you to sign this petition, whether you are a permanent employee or not. Indeed, Generation 2004 thinks that non-permanent staff deserve a break after many years of austerity, just like non-permanent government employees in Spain.

If you don’t yet have a login on the European Parliament’s petition website, you will need to create one. This will take only a minute, just click on “register” at the bottom of the petition text. A small effort for a great cause! Once you have logged in, all you need to do is click on “support this petition”. Continue reading Petition on the future of Contract Agents

The Senior Expert against the Contract Agent

Les fonctionnaires sont un petit peu comme les livres d’une bibliothèque. Ce sont les plus hauts placés qui servent le moins…”  (Georges Clemenceau)

Recently, the staff representation has become very excited about a controversial email exchange between an informal collective of the EC’s Contract Agents called the Non-Permanent Staff (NPS) Forum, and some prominent staff representatives. Most of you probably don’t care, but it is nonetheless worth spending 5 minutes to understand what’s going on. To summarize crudely: the NPS forum, in its February newsletter accuses the staff representation of using their position to advance their own careers at the expense of the defence of the precarious Contract Agents (Quote: “…unions … do more damage than good, to all staff recruited after 2004, using public money and entertaining a friendly relation amongst themselves and particularly with some members of DG HR, for decades. We have … proof of the existing conflicts of interest, …. We also need to see who they are, before and after elections, we need to see their real CVs made public.”). Continue reading The Senior Expert against the Contract Agent