To GIP or not to GIP – that is the question

picOn Friday 13th May the 9th meeting was held between HR General Director Ms Souka and your staff representatives on the new text of GIP (General Implementing Procedures on Other Agents) which will replace the Commission Decision of 2011.

What’s the line to draw? Different measures have been proposed in the context of mobility, unfortunately going more into division and difference of treatment. Even in the whole big cluster of Contract Agents, HR is eager to apply a different management approach between categories: CAs 3a and 3b cannot access vacancies and new types of contracts in the same way, cannot decide how to move among the institutions in the same way. Why? Because according to the rules CAs 3b could only be employed for temporary needs of the service as like as absences of officials or exceptional peaks of work, and they could never be renewed without these preconditions. However, this gives a F A L S E picture of the reality: the actual situation is largely different and HR finds it hard to admit that CAs have become a structural factor, where fixed-term contracts follow each other in loop and each service is using its CA budget the maximum but without paying so much attention to the above mentioned “theoretical requirements”.

The current state of play is the result of 8 rounds of consultations at administrative level, followed by 9 more meetings at technical level[1]. All these could not be really counted as great success in the history of negotiations since all proposals from Staff Representatives were systematically bounced back on HR’s stonewall. During all these discussions HR’s “political will” to truly improve the situation of CAs were neither visible nor tangible as the proposed draft GIP was representing a drawback more than a blessing, causing more uncertainty and creating further divisions. All this is very disappointing for everybody but unfortunately it’s not really a surprise, as it fits so well with normal HR attitude to decide on the principles that are deemed to be untouchable through the discussions with staff organizations, where just minor and cosmetic changes are allowed.[2]

For sure we know that discussions will still go on and get to the highest “political level”, to be directly dealt with VP Georgieva. G2004 will not give up and keep on advocating for CA’s rights, but also for staff unity, against divisions and inequality of treatment among EU personnel.

The three main axes which are the basis of G2004 interventions are the following:

  1. The need for a clear and strong political will from HR to better manage EU resources and to respect what clearly stated by the Staff Regulations[3].
  2. The respect of the principle of “Equal work for equal pay“, also recalled by our president J. C. Juncker in his ambitious political program of July 2014, where he said that << […] the same work at the same place should be remunerated in the same manner >> [4] This principle is not only dishonoured by the actual situation, where CAs perform same tasks of Officials, but also highly threatened by Art. 5 of the new GIP, which introduces a new work experience evaluation grid for new contracts with different and certainly lower wage levels of access ( click on table below).
  3. The opening of a transparent and flexible inter-service labor market for CAs that integrates External & Executive Agencies and Joint Undertakings, breaking finally down barriers produced by exclusive internal mobility and giving more chances for CAs out of their contract.

Qualification of WE table

[1] The “social dialogue” between DG HR and Staff Representatives usually develops on 3 ascending degrees of discussions: 1st Administrative, Director level – 2nd Technical, General Director level – 3rd Political, Commissioner level.

[2] G2004 Newsletter n. 16, “What the Dutch referendum and staff policies have in common”,
http://generation2004.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/G2004-Newsletter-no-16-20162.pdf

[3] General Provisions Other Agents, Art. 3b:
https://myintracomm.ec.europa.eu/hr_admin/en/staff-regulations/other-agents/Pages/title-1.aspx

<< Contract Agents 3b type agents (also called “auxiliary contract”) are employed by the Commission:to perform tasks other than those referred to in Article 3a of the CEOS in a post not included in the establishment plan, or to replace an official or temporary staff member who is temporarily unable to perform his or her duties. >>

https://myintracomm.ec.europa.eu/hr_admin/en/external_staff/contract_agents/Pages/Auxiliarycontractagents.aspx

[4] Jean-Claude Junker, “A new start for Europe – Political Guidelines for the next European Commission”, 15 July 2014: pg. 9

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