Promising and selling unicorns

On allowances to cover the additional costs of teleworking and other promises

It is election time for many sites of the Commission and there are two unmistakable signs for this:

  • Your inbox is filling with largely indistinguishable e-mails asking to vote for union X or union Y, because they have done SO MUCH for you in the last year (although for some of them, you cannot remember ever having seen any action or results).
  • The e-mails contain a hodgepodge of measures that they are demanding, often defying any sense of reality: unicorns, rainbows, a guaranteed lottery win, … 

Let’s stay with the lottery win for a moment: we would like to congratulate the other unions for finally waking up and looking at the outright precarious situation of many colleagues today. However, we would also like to point out that asking for e.g. 1000 EUR per person in the Commission adds up to about 30M euros.

Not much money for an organisation the size of the Commission, but if you believe that DG HR will just give you this money, you should maybe choose a profession that does not involve negotiations for the colleagues – you will get nowhere.

Another scheme that we see in every election: a union tries to convince you that it has written this one(!) note to DG HR which made it change its opinion in less than 24 hours! Ask yourself how likely it is that you can send a message to your own director-general and make him/her change course completely in less than 24 hours.

Of course, if all you are after is a couple of votes and then to fall asleep again for another three years, then this way of action is perfectly acceptable.  

If you are asking yourself: “But what is Generation 2004 doing on this and other topics? 

  • We pushed for more than a year to get at least some reimbursement for teleworking costs. And yes, this linked article is from 2020: we believe that you win elections by working hard for colleagues all throughout the election period, not just by bombarding colleagues with e-mails in the 2-3 weeks before an election.  
  • We asked the Commission (with your support) back in September to reconsider the premature back to office decision and go along with the host countries guidelines.  
  • We have petitioned the European Parliament regarding the precarious situation of AST/SCs today.  
  • We challenge the promotion system to the point that the other unions prefer a gag-order instead of improving the current system. If you believe that the current promotion system is fair and based on merits, feel free to support one of the other unions. If you (like we) believe that the system is based on many things (like “luck” or “visibility”), but hardly on merits, then there is really only one organisation that has criticised, is criticising and will continue to criticise the current system: yours truly.  

Finally, be aware that in the new draft Commission decision on Working time and hybrid working. Article 12(2) of version (10/11/2021) reads: “If appropriate, DG HR may adopt a decision providing for a lump sum covering certain costs of teleworkers, subject to budgetary availability.” So, we are getting there, slowly, but steadily – and we can assure you that it has taken more than one note or meeting.

As always, please get in touch if you think we can help you or that there is a topic that we should cover. Unlike the other unions, we cannot and will not promise you unicorns – but we do promise that we work hard to improve the situations of all colleagues.  

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