US Flash May 2023

USB - Consilium

We need a radical reform of our reporting system

In the middle of this year’s evaluation exercise, we are facing, once again, the obvious deficiencies of and iniquities in this system. These include:

  • the large amount of work for the reporting officers;
  • the lack of transparency;
  • duplication between various assessment criteria and the sheer banality of some of those criteria;
  • the disappointment, sense of injustice and demotivation experienced by many colleagues, despite the best efforts of the promotion boards.

Union Syndicale has been calling for a reform of the system for many years. The current system was designed for an institution of a few hundred officials in which managers and members of the promotion boards could have a reasonable chance of knowing the reportees personally. Today, a radical reform of this system is long overdue.

When will we finally see this necessary reform?

In 2018, the three OSPs submitted their proposal to the Appointing Authority.
The proposed system would:

• simplify reporting,
• considerably reduce the resources required for the evaluation procedure,
• preserve the focus on individual staff member’s qualities;
• preserve staff representatives’ current levels of influence and monitoring at the different stages of the reporting and promotion procedures,
• be far more transparent,
• allow for more predictability and fairness in the pace of promotions.

To date, the trade unions have not received a response to their proposal. However, Union Syndicale remains available, together with the other unions, to discuss with our Administration any step towards creating a simpler, transparent, constructive and less resource-intensive system that will motivate staff and help them develop their skills.

Problems at EPSO

EPSO recently announced the cancellation of EPSO competition AST 154-2022. This occurred during the actual competition process and was due to an accumulation of different problems. Evidently, those who suffer most from this failure are the candidates themselves, who had invested significant time and energy to become permanent staff members.

We, as Union Syndicale, have requested that they be given the possibility to retain the results and transfer these to future competitions.

The competition amounted to a needless waste of time and resources, and it has unfortunately tarnished the image of the EU institutions. There is a need for the best possible conditions for the selection process to ensure that the EU institutions recruit the best talents from across Europe.

Union Syndicale has also called on our Administration to intervene, together with the Administrations of the other institutions, to monitor the implementation of appropriate measures by EPSO. The aim is to ensure that this does not happen again.

Social dialogue at the GSC

Social dialogue is an instrument enshrined in the Staff Regulations. Its aim is to ensure that the Administration knows the staff’s views and interests and takes these into account in its policies and decisions. Social dialogue is important and is beneficial to both staff and the institution itself.

The Staff Committee and the trade unions have distinct roles in this respect:

• while trade unions are based on membership, they also represent the interests of staff members as a whole. They have a mandate, for instance, to negotiate with the Administration new or revised rules that have an impact on the staff;
• the Staff Committee, on the other hand, only has observer status in negotiations, but is responsible for monitoring the implementation of any agreement.

Social dialogue becomes difficult, however, when the unions and the Staff Committee do not receive the necessary information or receive it too late. And it becomes impossible when processes are started without prior or due consultation of the staff representation bodies. This undermines staff morale
and makes it difficult to defend the rights of our staff effectively.

Our next key task in this context will be the negotiations on new working time and teleworking rules. The negotiations will start soon, and their results will have a huge impact on our future working conditions.

Be assured that US is there to defend your rights in this process.

When are a child’s studies considered finished?

Union Syndicale has just asked the court: At what point do students cease to be dependent on their parents, resulting in the end of allowances and tax benefits? The PMO claims this is when the child sits their last exam. However, it is only several months later that the child obtains the results and the diploma needed to enter the labour market.

After an extraordinary refusal by the Appointing Authority of the Commission (which is now responsible for such matters following the transfer of competence in this area from the Council to the Commission), we are lodging an appeal in Luxembourg. This concerns roughly three months of family and school allowances, plus the tax benefit, for most of our dependent children.

Recruitment policy

2022 was another worrying year. Of all colleagues recruited externally by the GSC, only one in 10 was recruited as an official. The other nine were temporary or contract staff, who strengthen our organisation and yet do not enjoy sufficient job security. This short-termist approach to recruitment seriously undermines the European civil service, which is essential to the stability of European integration.

Holding regular internal competitions can offset this trend. We therefore welcome the internal competition for translators in LING, which was particularly urgent and is also open to our AST colleagues. But this alone will not solve the problem. It is at the source that the trend needs to be reversed: permanent tasks require permanent posts.

Excessive workload

In September 2022, the staff met in a General Meeting and called for swift action to bring the workload down to an acceptable level. The trade unions were subsequently mandated to meet with the SecretaryGeneral and Coreper to discuss the matter. The meeting with the Secretary-General has still not taken place. Perhaps she too is suffering from an intolerable workload?

In the meantime, Union Syndicale has analysed the latest data for 2022.

The data show that what so many of us are feeling – that the excessive workload is unsustainable – reflects the actual situation. All indicators are on the rise, and for most, 2022 was the worst year ever experienced in the GSC. The most scandalous indicators concern evening and weekend shifts. Moreover, the official figures are only the tip of the iceberg – many hours are not even recorded and are therefore lost…

Do you have questions? Please send us a message

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