Preserving acquired rights of Local agents – empty promises?

Generation 2004 has come across different cases where Local Agents (LAs) have indeed lost their acquired rights after signing up to the new conditions of employment (a loss of rights was mentioned as a distant possibility in 2020). First and foremost, Generation 2004 does not agree with the approach of setting the deadline for LAs to sign the new contract which was before all the annexes of the contract were in place.  The national law reference guides were not provided to colleagues at the time of signing the contract and some of the implementing decisions (i.e. the assessment procedure, guidance policies to assist Delegations in exercising their duty of care towards the local staff) are even still missing today.

We also would like to recall the commitment and intention of the administration, stated at multiple technical consultation meetings where they promised:

Acquired rights will be incorporated in the individual decisions to be adopted in each Delegations

Ms Collet, then head of unit for LAs, confirmed in multiple occasions[1] that the intention of the administration is to

protect and improve social rights of Local agents via not only Delegation level derogation [exception] to the rules, but also derogations on individual level to protect acquired by a specific staff member.’

All these commitments led colleagues to believe that signing the new conditions would only improve their working conditions and no acquired rights would be lost.

Generation 2004 is aware that this is not the case.  Staff in one Delegation have lost their seniority bonus as prescribed by local law; another reported to have lost child-support allowances; some Delegations have now a new debate on the retirement age of LAs.

Generation 2004 requests that the administration clarifies:

  1. How the following article was applied in cases where LAs were forced to retire at an earlier age than the 65 years set out in the employment conditions:

‘[..] The modernised conditions of employment are intended as minimum standards of employment to be applied to all Delegations alongside local law.  Consequently, the more favourable between the minimum standards and the local law shall apply.’[2]

2. What was the legal basis to reject the requests of Delegations in cases where acquired rights were not preserved (such as seniority bonus as prescribed by local law)? Some Delegations were supported in their opinion on conserving rights by local lawyers.

Generation 2004 invites colleagues to come forward and let us know if you have other examples of rights being lost so that so that we can bring these issues to the attention of management.  Please let us know!

[1] In technical consultation meeting of 24 September 2021 and 28 March 2019.

[2] Joint Decision of the Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 7.8.2019 of the Conditions of Employment of Local Staff of the European Union engaged in places outside of the European Union – Article (3)

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