Staff Regulations Reform

Stated aims and reality: AST/SC

Thanks to all of you who attended our secretaries and clerks (AST/SC) conference, the issues raised and discussed there are explained in detail in our original article.

For those of you who haven’t done so already, please sign our petition to improve the opportunities available to our AST/SC colleages: Continue reading Stated aims and reality: AST/SC

Stop the AST/SC exploitation NOW

The secretarial and clerical assistants (AST/SC) function group (FG/’GF’) was introduced by the 2013 revision of the Staff Regulations (SR) that entered into force 01.01.2014.

The established ‘dinosaurs’ trade unions and staff associations (OSPs) did not oppose the creation of the AST/SC category in 2013. Now they hypocritically claim that they care about the AST/SC staff and want to help them. What they really care about is getting the AST/SC votes in the forthcoming staff representation elections. Continue reading Stop the AST/SC exploitation NOW

New teleworking scheme: longer working days and more micromanagement?

During our 13 months of compulsory 100% teleworking for almost all of us, Generation 2004 has submitted to DG HR countless requests to start a dialogue on the conditions under which staff were and are expected to work from home – both in the current force majeure global-pandemic situation and when staff are able to go back to the office. DG HR finally reached out to the trade unions and staff associations (OSPs) for a social dialogue meeting focusing on teleworking (16 April) which we very much hope to be the first of many such meetings. Continue reading New teleworking scheme: longer working days and more micromanagement?

Local agents update

Implementation of the new package for local agents (LAs)

While the administration commits to get the large number of EU Delegation exceptions (‘derogations’) ready for a decision by February 2021, it means the entire package will not be available for LAs to decide until then. In this latest update to this ongoing issue, Generation 2004 urges all LA colleagues to ensure that they fully understand the entire package before they make their decision as it is likely to be irreversible. Continue reading Local agents update

Teleworking from abroad: Survey results are out

Generation 2004 asked you for your opinion on this topic in a 10-question survey over 5 weeks October-November 2020 and 1 500 of you responded. The short answer to our question of whether you want to be able to telework from abroad is a resounding ‘YES!’: 93% (1 393) of those who responded would like to have that option available.

Though it must be noted that there are several different versions of ‘yes’ proposed and it was possible to select more than one of them: Yes, for a limited period like summer, Christmas etc./Yes, in exceptional situations like COVID‑19./Yes, permanently.

Continue reading Teleworking from abroad: Survey results are out

Do you want to be able to telework from outside your place of employment?

You have shown that teleworking is possible, but do you want more of it and are you being consulted? [1]

Article 20 of the Staff Regulations stipulates that ‘An official shall reside either in the place where he is employed or at no greater distance therefrom as is compatible with the proper performance of his duties. The official shall notify the Appointing Authority of his address and inform it immediately of any change of address.’

Therefore, the outcome of any future teleworking decisions might affect us all. These choices could  impact everything from the multiannual financial framework (MFF) to the European Green Deal, to all 6 pillars of the new HR strategy to the money you take home every month: the 16 % expatriation allowance / 4% foreign residence allowance and potentially the coefficient (if any) that applies to your salary.   Continue reading Do you want to be able to telework from outside your place of employment?

A little reminder why Generation 2004 MUST exist

The 2004 and 2014 Staff Regulations reforms introduced discrimination towards colleagues hired in the post 2004 generation, most of them from the – at the time – ten new Member States, which later got to 12 and eventually 13. These reforms introduced many changes affecting a wide range of working conditions for these newer colleagues while not touching most of the benefits of the already existing civil servants. Noteworthy are:
Continue reading A little reminder why Generation 2004 MUST exist

We said it all along; now it is official: EU officials unhappy

For several years, Generation2004 has been pointing out that something is not working well with how EU institutions are treating their own staff.  Along the way, we have consistently proposed constructive solution to reverse the path towards unhappiness of staff. However, it looks like the “establishment”, with support of some staff organisations doesn’t see the same and proceeds with its own agenda serving personal interests and personal egos.  We believe however, that staff should be treated differently and, most importantly, it should be listened to. Needless to say, but most of our claims have been disregarded throughout time. Continue reading We said it all along; now it is official: EU officials unhappy

Growing inequalities in the Institutions

Oxfam, the well-known international confederation of charitable organizations has recently published its annual report on social inequalities. What about inequalities in the EU institutions? Since the infamous Kinnock reform of 2004, inequalities have greatly increased in the EU civil service. Before the Kinnock reform, careers of non-management staff were limited to the equivalent of AD12.

For a decade, between 2004 and 2013, this upper limit became AD14. The 2014 Staff Regulations re-introduced the AD12 cap, but in the meantime, more than 2000 ADs had managed to sneak in to the AD13 grade and another 500 to the AD14 grade, most of them without taking managerial responsibilities. Moreover, the 2014 Staff Regulations did not put an end to what could be perceived as an overly generous scheme:

Several hundred senior experts are still managing to sneak in (see previous newsletter). In addition, the pre-2004 staff who haven’t managed to become AD14 have nonetheless benefitted in January of last year from a pay rise that raised their salary to the level of an AD14 salary, without having to go through any painstaking promotion exercise. They achieved this pay rise via the additional steps that the 2014 staff regulations have granted them, supposedly to maintain their motivation at work (See the “Generation Edith Cresson” article – for those interested, the additional steps are explained in great details in article 30 of annex XIII of the Staff Regulations).

The whole range of measures in favour of pre-2004 staff is illustrated in the graph below. The pre-2004 salary scale for administrators is shown in orange (large squares if you are looking at the graph in black and white) and the post-2004 salary scale (modified to take the 2014 reform into account) is shown in green (or small squares if you are looking at the graph in black and white). The horizontal axis lists the grades in the post-2004 career structure, the grades of the pre-2004 career structure are super-imposed on the same axis but not explicitly mentioned. The vertical axis indicates monthly basic salaries in 2004 values (the figures come from Annex XIII of the Staff Regulations). For instance, the basic salary at entry level has become €3810/month for post-2004 ADs whereas it was €4259/month for pre-2004 ADs (i.e. 12% less for post-2004 ADs; the amounts quoted here were those valid in 2004; since then, salaries of both pre-2004 and post-2004 ADs have been adjusted in equal proportions according to the “method”; the salaries of pre-2004 ADs have benefitted from a further increase, which is not represented here, via the gradual convergence of the so-called correcting coefficients to a value of 1, so the present graph is a conservative estimate of the gains achieved by pre-2004 staff through the 2004 reform).

One can clearly see how the range of salaries has increased since 2004. How does this increased range affect post-2004 staff and pre-2004 staff? As mentioned above, the 2004 reform has substantially reduced the salaries of entry grades, i.e. the salaries of the newcomers recruited after 2004. In contrast, the graph shows that AD13 with no management responsibilities, who would have had their careers capped at a basic salary of about €11000/month before 2004 (here again, figures are those that were in force in 2004 in order to allow for comparison between pre and post-2004 salary scales) can now reach a maximum basic salary of €12046/month (2004 values – this figure takes into account the 2 pay rises described in article 30 of Annex XIII of the Staff Regulations, represented in the graph as 2 additional steps in the careers of AD13 for the sake of simplicity). This is 10% more than the maximum salary for non-management staff before the 2004 staff reform. Even more generous is the possibility for non-management staff that had reached the AD14 grade before 1 January 2014 to achieve a basic salary of €13100/month (2004 values), i.e. 20% more than the maximum salary allowed for non-management staff before the 2004 staff reform. The point here is that those who have benefited from this generous salary increase are staff recruited before the 2004 reform. Indeed, no non-management post-2004 staff were recruited at a high-enough grade to benefit from the increase. Thus, what the graph illustrates is a generous salary policy in favour of pre-2004 ADs combined with a very significant loss in salary inflicted on post-2004 ADs. Social inequalities among ADs have thus greatly increased in 2004.

Inequalities between the best-paid non-management staff and staff at the bottom of the salary ladder have also increased because of the 2014 reform. Before 1 January 2014, the ratio of the highest basic salary for non-management staff (AD14, step 5, i.e. €15944/month in 2017 values) to the lowest basic salary of permanent officials (AST1, step 1, i.e. €2830/month in 2017 values) was 5.6. With the Staff Regulations in force since 1 Jan 2014, the highest salary has been untouched but the lowest salary has become that of the new category SC1, step 1 (€2481/month): as a result, the ratio is now 6.4, almost +15% compared to what it was before the 2014 reform. It now takes less than 2 months for the best paid non-management official to earn as much as what an entry-level official earns in a year. This inequality index looks even worse when applied to Contract Agents: the lowest salary for a Contract Agent is €1970/month, which gives an inequality ratio larger than 8 (it takes only 1.5 month for an AD14 to earn as much as what a CA earns in a whole year). Interestingly, the lowest salary of a Contract Agent is below the minimum wage in Luxembourg.

Taking into account that Contract Agents do not have the same job security as AD14 permanent official (CA3b in the Commission actually have no job security at all …), the inequality is even more difficult to justify. Note that here we have not considered the highest possible salary of an EU official, which is the salary of the president of the European Commission; this would be another debate that we will leave to the British tabloids. In any case, the conclusion is clear: the rise in inequalities is not limited to ADs, it is widespread among the entire staff of the institutions.

When releasing its report on inequalities, Oxfam made the following statement: “Our economy must stop excessively rewarding those at the top and start working for all people. Accountable and visionary governments, businesses that work in the interests of workers and producers, a valued environment, women’s rights and a strong system of fair taxation, are central to this more human economy.

You don’t have to agree with this statement. But if you do, you should ask yourself whether HR policies that lead to increasing inequalities within the EU civil service are not a way to format us to accept that inequalities should also increase outside the bubble of the EU institutions. That our former boss, Jose Manuel Barroso, has deemed perfectly acceptable to go and work for one of the banks that wreaked the financial system havoc in 2008 and thus contributed to greatly increased inequalities in the world, could be interpreted as a sign that the successive 2004 and 2014 reforms Staff Regulations may have been less fortuitous than a naïve observer might think. Let us hope that the next reform of the Staff Regulations tackles this inequality trend in a serious manner.