Internal bleeding of EUROCONTROL:
A strange calm reigns amongst the EUROCONTROL staff and its Trade Union representatives. Business as usual, should we believe it? On the other hand, it is raining management statements: The Director General wishes to drastically cut EUROCONTROL's sail; limit its role and concentrate its missions. Within this framework, severe budget restrictions were announced, with a serious impact to staff who, as we heard, "must suffer". It is clear: on that side "knives are already drawn".
One of the preliminary actions is to strongly limit promotions in 2009. Certainly this administration inherited the previous management system of "job management". The system has a concrete aim to block the career progress of the officials and to consider as ineligible for promotion all those who are in at the highest grade of their career bracket. But as this mechanism was also judged to be not sufficient, a usually low percentage criterion was applied to an artificially limited population of those eligible for promotion. Thus the number of promotions has been reduced almost by a factor of four.
occasion, if some officials working outside HQ had some illusions about
their career development, the administration deceived them by applying the
saying: out of site, out of
But all these are just for starters. Initially, as rumour has it, the objective is to get rid of at least 250 people. A hundred will go on pension normally in 2010. For the others, Administration is planning voluntary or compulsory (art, 41) retirement and if this is not enough to resort to redundancies (Annex X) or even firing for incompetence (art 51). We are drawing your attention therefore to the importance of the evaluation reports to be prepared in the first quarter of 2010 as they might serve as the basis for such procedures.
This policy will be extended or even escalated until at least 2013. The solution will not come, as administration hoped, by external financing. The framework agreement with EU envisages a yearly financing of approximately five million Euros but it will only be three million for 2010. The Commission's generosity would make us laugh if it wasn't for the very stringent contractual impositions on EUROCONTROL, which is re-structured to serve the objectives of Single Sky and to accept all competence transfers as wished both by the Commission and the Member States, which dream to re-nationalise our competences.
Well, we do
not need a calculator to see that it is necessary to play musical chairs.
Harder working conditions
feel sorry only for those who leave but also for those who stay. As budget
will be brutally reduced, the remaining staff will be asked to perform all
the tasks, to ensure that objectives are reached within the same quality level but with reduced means.
The staff will be asked to be flexible, ready for mobility, loyal,
engaged... without reward, stressing at the same time the need
to achieve performance targets which were unilaterally set. And all these under the threat of the next round of
Another tendency of the administration is to scorn the staff regulations. We saw people being nominated without any competition, including to posts in charge of enforcing the respect of procedures. The iMove procedure was urgently set up but without any reference to the Staff Regulations. In any case this procedure is entirely in the hands of the administration that does not hesitate to go back in certain files without taking any notice of those who are hurt in the process.
With these future prospects the staff is petrified. Almost no reaction except around the coffee machine, not believing what is happening, many hoping to slip in between the drops. Unfortunately the staff will be obliged to believe it when they see the decisions which will be made in the months to come. Hope to slip in between the drops will prove to be vain.
EUROCONTROL Trade Unions do not react either. They
are satisfied dealing with minor routine issues and remain inert in
front of the agonising questions about redundancies that fly over our
that the Trade Unions should join forces and give staff the arms to defend
itself! Union for Unity is a movement aiming to create the conditions for
a united action to defend the staff of the European institutions and
organisations. We are not one
more trade union, becoming a member in U4U is not incompatible with
membership in another trade union. On
the contrary, we want to be a force for reflection and of proposals which
will be relayed by all the trade unions.
So, what should we do? First we need to discuss and debate openly, to affirm the will of the EUROCONTROL personnel to fight for its survival and for continuing its contribution to a real European sky. Air safety cannot be ensured through hazy discussions, full of buzz-words which serve as a smoke screen for private, national and individual interests aiming to bring down EUROCONTROL.
EUROCONTROL embodied and can still
embody the will to create "A European Aviation Administration".
It is the only pragmatic solution to the problems of the European skies,
as we see the total absence of results of the so called
"bottom-up" actions which only create tons of paper and increase
costs (we shall come back on this).
In U4U we
have concrete ideas which are discussed, to put an end to this. The
solutions will not come from the outside.
It is time that staff takes the situation in its own
works towards its collective future.
We should get organised to cope with this new programmed crisis.
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