Newsletter #24 – Sep 2017

Who represents the staff and for how long: Staff representatives secondments and the 6-year rule

Existing rules provide for the Commission to ensure sufficient resources for staff representation activities. This includes a number of reserved posts outside of the DGs dedicated for full-time staff representation activities – the so-called detachments or secondments. At present, there is a well justified limit to a maximum of 6 years to occupy such a post after which one must return to a regular job in a DG (There is no limit to how many times you may be elected as Staff representative though!). There are in total 41 Full Time Equivalents available for staff representation secondments, distributed to each staff organisation proportionally to the percentage of votes received in staff elections (only the organisations that pass the 5% threshold benefit from these secondments, which explains why organisations tend to merge just before the elections). Continue reading Who represents the staff and for how long: Staff representatives secondments and the 6-year rule

Air quality in Brussels

Many of us are concerned with the air quality of the cities where we live and work. The Brussels region is slowly waking up on this issue. They recently released data on black carbon pollution levels in Brussels. These measurements are the results of a citizen science program called ExpAir in which some of our colleagues took part. Each participant was given a little box to measure black carbon both outdoor and indoor. Black carbon is a subset of the micro-particles that are subject to the EU legislation on air quality (it makes about 10% of the total mass of PM10 micro-particles, but it is potentially the most harmful part of these particles as it is a direct product of combustion and moreover it can aggregate all sorts of volatile organic compounds that are harmful to our health, including a number of carcinogenic substances). Continue reading Air quality in Brussels

You are a Contract Agent? Share your experience with us!

“In a Union of equals, there can be no second class workers. Workers should earn the same pay for the same work in the same place.” J.C. Juncker, State of the Union address, 13 September 2017.

Contract Agents account for more than a quarter of the European Institution’s population and are increasingly the victims of budgetary restrictions. Limited access to decent employment opportunities in the Institutions, insufficient job security and unfair working conditions are now well documented.

However, what is less documented is that there is a growing gap between the duties performed by CAs and their functional group. Continue reading You are a Contract Agent? Share your experience with us!

Wind in our sails, but in what condition is our ship?

A wind of optimism is blowing in the EU institutions. Some are beginning to argue that the added-value of the EU has become clearer following the events of the past 18 months. Indeed, recent electoral rounds in France and in the Netherlands have been less negative than expected with respect to the future of the EU. The outcome of the elections in Germany is perceived by some observers as less encouraging. However, it is clear that the eurosceptics will not prevail there any time soon. Unfortunately, the main issues that affect the staff are still very unclear and may be affected by a number of events.

Obviously colleagues who happen to be British citizen are worried by the lack of clarity on their future. The only consolation at the moment is that the Belgian authorities are beginning to realise that EU officials of UK citizenship need assistance. The Brussels Commissioner (not one of our Commissioners but an official appointed by the Brussels region to provide administrative assistance to the expat community in Brussels) organised an info session last June and provides some advice on its website. It is useful to go through this advice if you are a UK citizen working in Brussels. Continue reading Wind in our sails, but in what condition is our ship?