Le Lien - The Link
syndicalisme européen, citoyen, participatif et unitaire
January 2012 – n° 19
|Have your say - Votre opinion||
U4U address Vice-president Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ
Subject: Council decision regarding the salary adjustment
Dear Mr. Vice-President,
Thank you for the information provided to staff, which is very bad news for the European Civil Service, the European Commission and the European Union.
Reportedly, the Member States do not intend either to reimburse staff the excess receipts collected via the pension contributions ( according to Annex XII of the staff regulations, the pension contribution rate should fall from 11.6% to 11% ). I also notice that despite the non-implementation of the 2011 adaptation, the institutions continue to receive the special levy, which reduces our buying power by 5.5%, combined with the inflation rate of 3.6% in Belgium. The decline in purchasing power this year is close to 10%.
Will you propose to repay this levy in compensation for the fact that the mechanism for the adjustment of the remuneration is not being respected by the Council?
Will you propose that the Commission introduces an appeal against the Council for failure, in the areas of the salary adjustment and pension contribution?
This shows, just as we thought it would, that the precipitated adoption by the Commission of its proposal for reform of the Staff Regulations, at the cost of an "accelerated" unilateral negotiation with the trade unions, has not satisfied the Member States. On the contrary!
The opposite happened: the Commission proposal was seen as an admission of weakness of our institution and legitimated, albeit not sufficient for them, their policy of systematic questioning of the EU civil service and the European Union. As such, it has strengthened their resolve to question the staff regulations and permanently weaken the EU civil service, disregarding any legal requirements or objective analysis of the situation.
This reaction was predictable. It was even announced. And it seems strange that the Commission requires several weeks to respond to a political stance that was entirely predictable.
The situation today is worse than before the adoption of the proposed
reform of the staff regulations by the Commission.
Staff have a right to know, because the inflexibility of the Member States and the ever deteriorating situation, makes us all fear the worst.
Therefore, I ask you to convene a meeting with all the trade unions to discuss this new political context and clarify the intentions of the Commission in order to back an independent European public and the ability to act in the interest of Europe, and its citizens.
Finally, it is clear that staff is concerned about the current political weakness of the Commission and by the absence of realistic proposals to get out of the various crises facing the EU.
The policies announced are too often based on flawed austerity packages and the strengthening of inter-governmental action, instead of building real EU economic governance. In addition, these austerity policies are ineffective in treating a mainly financial crisis of which the debt crisis is a consequence. These so-called solutions imposed by diktat of certain governments, without any democratic process, lead to their rejection by public opinion and support the criticism regarding a democratic deficit in Europe.
Staff expects that the College defends the European structure, that it puts forward community solutions to the crisis and that it preserves a strong European public service, competent and independent, without which, nothing can be done.
|Commissioner Sefcovic just "instructs" the Commission's managers, on the "lines to follow"…|
Commissioner Sefcovic has for the first time in the Commission's history of social dialogue, presented proposals for the reform of the Staff Regulations without first, trying to obtain a consensus with staff representatives. As the number of counter-proposals submitted by the trade unions indicate, a consensus was possible. Additionally, the VP addressed the Commission's managers and gave them "the line to follow" without any prior consultation. This explains the evident weaknesses in the proposals, which do not solve the Commission's operational problems.
The social dialogue with staff representatives was botched and concluded in a hurry. On December 13th, 2011 the Commissioner, aiming to be in the Council's "good books" attached his final proposal for the reform of the Staff Regulations to that of the salary adjustment. We know what happened next: the Council encouraged by the College's attitude refused the salary adjustment and legally attacked the Commission.
It should be noted that the VP still refuses to sign a Confidence Pact with the Staff Representatives which would guarantee that the improvements the unions proposed during discussions with the Commission; would be maintained during the negotiations with the Council and Parliament. The Pact also states that if the Council worsens the Commission's proposal, the latter should withdraw it.
Even worse, the Commissioner, inspired by bad practices of past times, asked his colleagues to justify and defend a reform proposal which remains highly disputed.
Mr Sefcovic, by simply addressing management and providing them with the "line to take" as well as asking them to communicate it to their staff, treats management just as a communication tool. He forgets that this same management works with staff daily and in addition, evaluates them every year.
This practice combined with inability of the Commission proposals' to face-up to the crisis, are ominous, with regard to the capacity of our Commissioner and Institution to resist the ideological pressures of the Member States.
U4U regrets this reduced confidence and solidarity, which during this period of adversity, is so necessary. U4U remains, even more attentive and vigilant both to the content and methods of action concerning the reform, united in action.
|European schools: a system failure?|
The latest statistics released are harsh: more than 60% of pupils who have parents who are European officials ( Category 1 ) go to some other school besides a European School. At the same time, the opening-up of the European Schools to other social categories, is decreasing considerably, leading to injustice and "elitism".
This is the result of at least ten years of budget-cuts and austerity that has been translated into over-populated classes, reduction in the number of subject choices and rigid and inflexible enrolment policies - initially in the Brussels schools, and which are now spreading to other schools.
One of the three pillars of the 2009 reform was the revision of "cost sharing" i.e. the financing model of the European schools. The Board of Governors meeting of December 2011 recognised the obvious failure of this reform.
The second pillar dealt with the setting up of type II and III schools hoped to be less expensive for the Member States. However this system shows its limits as the Board of Governors did not estimate or budget the administrative costs or those for the opening-up of the European Baccalaureate. In addition, these new schools receive a lot of criticism regarding their pedagogical organisation.
The Board of Governors proposes the creation of a high-level group with the responsibility of finding solutions to the present crisis.
It was the parents who initially conceived the idea of the European Schools. It is imperative therefore that the users and professionals working in the schools organise themselves in order to propose to the high-level group and also to the European Parliament and the Commission their own view of how to reform the European Schools System.
|CoRePer would like to sign the death certificate of the adaption method of our salaries and pensions.|
CoRePer has decided not to adopt the adaption of 1,7% of the basic salary of the staff of the European Union, as the Commission has proposed.
The Council has intentionally organized institutional abstention with regard to the adaption of wages, which is a flagrant violation of the treaties and the principle of loyal cooperation between the institutions.
The increase proposed by the Commission results yet from the strict application of Annex XI of the Statute, which was adopted in 2004. It is in exchange of this guarantee that the Commission and the personnel have agreed to the important sacrifices imposed by the Kinnock reform, which makes us pay every month 5,5% of our basic salary.
Annex XI of the Statute, which fixes the system of adaption of the European civil servants' wages, is part of a regulation of the Council - the Statute - which was adopted by the Member States. Non-application of the adaption of 1,7% means violation of this regulation, adopted in 2004.
Today, the Council is in abstention of a decision, which it is actually obliged to take. But it has above all organized this situation intentionally, thus violating the treaties and the principle of confidence on the part of the communities' personnel. What is even worse, is that the Council will get hold of the Court of Justice against the refusal of the Commission to trigger the application of the exception clause.
The first consequence of this situation touches the purchasing power of the institutions' personnel. In fact, the inflation in Belgium was 3,6% in 2011, whereas the adaption of salaries according to the Commission's proposal is only 1,7%. Therefore, the loss of purchasing power suffered by the European civil servants is 1,9%, to which one has to add 5,5% of special levy, which is 7,4%! Without the adaption of the method, the loss of purchasing power is 3,6% plus 5,5% special levy, which is 9,1% with 0,6% additionally to be charged, because of the pension fees overly received.
Once again, our salaries will thus lose purchasing power, and all this capped by a levy.
Apart from that situation the policy of the Commission with regard to promotions has to be considered: the statutory guarantees are not fully complied with. According to certain calculations, the civil servants will fail to earn up to several thousands in the form of promotion at least.
Another consequence of this situation is the proposition of the reform of the Statute, which was adopted by the Commission on 13 December 2011. It again raises the fundamental question, that we asked the Commission last spring. Why has the Commission adopted a proposition to revise the Statute for a new method lasting 10 years when the Council in fact refuses to apply the method in force at the moment? Why again cut the rights of personnel in exchange of a renewed mechanism, which the Member States do not want any more?
This decision of the Council marks the failing strategy of the Commission towards the Council and threatens our employment conditions even more. In this respect U4U demand:
1. from the Commission to introduce immediately withdrawal from the Council in order that the Statute is being respected.
2. from the other OSPs, within the Front Commun, to examine whether the whole personnel can disregard the non-adaption of the salaries, based on 2011.
3. from the OSPs, within the Front Commun to urgently
demand a meeting from President Barroso and from the Vice-President Sefcovic
to revise the strategy of the Commission, since the adoption of a proposal
of revision of the Statute of 13 December 2011 did not impede the Council
from refusing the yearly adaption of 2011. Likewise, this proposition
seemingly does not impede the Member States to continue to link the revision
of the Statute with the financial perspectives and to be willing to go ahead
with the discussion of the Statute till end 2013, to make it worse.
|Le Conseil attaque la Commission|
Adaptation 2011 des rémunérations 29/12/2011
Le Conseil de l'Union européenne, à la majorité de 20 états membres, a décidé de se tourner vers la Cour de justice pour faire condamner la Commission qui refuse d'invoquer la clause de sauvegarde.
Il s'agit d'une subversion des Traités, le Conseil exigeant que la Commission obtempère à ses instructions, transformant le droit d'initiative de celle-ci en une obligation d'agir sur ordre et au mépris de ses obligations légales.
|Le CoRePer fait traîner l’adaptation de la contribution pension et l’application de l’annexe XII|
Le CoRePer refuse également l'adaptation du taux de contribution pension, en diminution de 0,6%, qui découle pourtant de la simple application de l'Annexe XII du Statut, également adoptée en 2004.
Pendant 7 ans, la contribution a augmenté progressivement de 9,75% à 11,6% du salaire de base et les États membres ont voté ces augmentations sans états d'âme.
Aujourd'hui, le Conseil fait traîner alors qu'il ne s'agit pas d'une augmentation des rémunérations mais d'un simple ajustement permettant de maintenir l'équilibre actuariel.
|Opinion : the F-word|
The crisis of debts and the Euro, brought about in 2007 by the mortgage crisis, consequently lead to the fact that a taboo was lifted in the public opinion. The F-word, which had conveniently been avoided, came into being again in writing more and more often. In articles on economics, in experts' analyses, in the press in general and finally in political discourse. For this reason the press could title on 6 December 2011: "Angela Merkel wants more federalism within the European Union."
Federalism. The concept is imposed as much as the Euro-crisis is evident, and is most of all a crisis of political governance. A monetary zone cannot trespass the centralisation of economic and financial decisions.
But the F-word also suffers from a mortal disease. Since the world of the rulers so to speak , which is not at all the same as in the dictionary, which tries to save the intergouvernementalism and to reduce the dose of a European supplementary at minimum level, which is, though, needed to be injected into the European system in order to survive.
One can see this at the method. The Franco-German
tandem looks for solutions which it is fancying to impose on its partners
as well. The repetition of this approach and successive failure (the
decisions made turn out to be insufficient the very next day) negate the
communities' method and can only turn off the other partners who call for
a 'diktat'. Even more worrying is the Germanophobia which makes itself
clearly felt; and arouses also anxiety with regard to the principles as to
how Europe is to be constructed.
The private sector will no longer be able to compensate the losses as is the case in Greece to put more light onto the burden of the country's debts. This "will not happen again", Nicolas Sarkozy indicated, and the new treaty will be in conformity with the jurisdiction of the International Monetary Fund, which excludes private participation. "the regulation is, that these debts are being reimbursed", the President of France insisted.
An intergouvernmental treaty can perhaps formally reduce the period of implementation, but can also make more complex the European mechanism and reduce its democratic legitimacy. To opt for such a budgetary pact outside the limits of the legislative of the European Union is open to criticism, but one can bypass the British veto by a provision of the Lisbon treaty, the reinforced cooperation. This treaty in particular only aims at the reinforced budgetary discipline without progress towards a common economic and financial government, which is, though, indispensable since the creation of the Euro zone; so that these measurements are already being regarded as frustrating.
Once again one finds the scandalous shortage of the intergovernmentalism the minimal solution, the one which bothers least, a patchwork. On the other hand, the Germano-French tandem imposes its law, but not without damage, since the other countries do not find themselves in a system where they are at least of second rank.
One may be astonished about this persistent mistake. Since this project of treaty leads to a series of summits to be organized, each time signalling allegedly final decisions, which have never been able to stem the spiral of the crisis.
One of the arguments used by the governments for their evasion of doing the all too obvious necessary is that the public opinion is not ready. But this argument is weak. On the one hand, the public opinion will surely be in favour by the announcement of a policy which will ultimately offer the perspective of an ebb of the unemployment and de-industrialization of Europe. On the other hand, this public opinion is less unreasonable than it seems. For example, in a country where souverainism is flying high and where the vote for a constitutional treaty was negative, the testing snapshot which is surely not scientific then leads to a random response of 39.000 readers.
Le Figaro – Actualités Screen clipping taken: 6/11/2011 9:21
On peut malgré tout tirer une leçon de cela : le mot en F ne fait plus peur, s’il est porteur d’un espoir de mieux-être.
Le président Van Rompuy, après bien d’autres, déclarait en novembre 2011 : "Nous ne pouvons pas avoir une monnaie commune, une politique monétaire commune, tout en laissant tout le reste aux États concernés. Et pourtant c'est ce dont nous avons fait l'expérience. Nous avons besoin d'une cohérence dans les politiques et les institutions au niveau européen".
Il écrit dans un papier du 6 décembre : “The stability and integrity of the Economic and Monetary Union requires both the swift and vigorous implementation of the measures already agreed and further qualitative moves towards a genuine "fiscal union". This will entail significantly stronger coordination of economic policies and a higher degree of surveillance and discipline in the conduct of national policies.”
Nous avons besoin d’une vraie politique européenne, communautaire, démocratique, pour que l’Europe renoue avec l’espoir d’une renaissance économique. Il est encore temps de la concevoir.
|La communication de U4U|
U4U informe le personnel de façon claire, fiable et rapide. Nous donnons ainsi à chacun la possibilité de s’informer mais aussi de réagir sur un forum. U4U édite ou collabore à l’édition de nombreux journaux :
U4U édite plusieurs sites web, qui permettent de trouver facilement une information très riche :
Union for Unity site principal du syndicat
Regroupement syndical entre l'Union Syndicale Hors Union et l'Union for Unity (RS / USHU & U4U)
Sites de collectifs autonomes
Collectif des contractuels Défense des Agents contractuels
Touche pas à mon prof ! Défense des professeurs de langue
Sites des initiatives collectives
Europe Solidarité Plateforme pour une Europe solidaire
GRASPE - Groupe de réflexion sur l'avenir du service public européen
GUDEE - Groupe Unitaire pour le Développement des Écoles Européennes
La fonction ‘recherche’ disponible sur ces sites permet de rechercher une information sur tous ces sites en même temps.
Site auquel U4U apporte du contenu
|Courrier des lecteurs|
Please allow me to express some crude thoughts before the X-Mas break (for which I am wishing to you all to be Merry and Happy and with 2012 in fulfilment of all our aspirations for a strong EU civil service)
Unfortunately, a large number of colleagues are becoming convinced that we have already lost out the first, but crucial battle (by the college's adoption of the reform proposal on 14th of Dec) - This is unfortunately a strategic failure, especially since it now opened the Pandora box. for some reason there has been no quick-reaction from the "Frontcommun" to capitalize on the doctrine of the EU summit on 9th of Dec (where those same MS who wish to see a very profound reform and a weak service) acknowledged that the EU Institutions as the only guarantor for EU's future. this happened already, ok, but is there a lesson to be learnt? perhaps
Some proposed actions: Another blow from the Council, on a minor (as compared to the reform aspirations) issue like the salary adjustment must be capitalised by the syndicates - the "give and take" approach (where we were seemingly giving out the "reform" in order to "take" a mere 1.7 %) turns out to be only only "give and give and give more". Shall the Front Commun capitalize on this? I guess yes
Belgium has immediately reacted today by a general strike, same in other EU countries - strikes do not lead necessarily to the desired results - nevertheless they show some muscle and the damages are sometimes moderated.
What shall we do ?- The Front Commun must find and agree urgently on a set of clever, mediatic and effective actions (not necessarily only strike but not excluding it neither)
An effective media campaign through professional communicators must be implemented asap (and we have a few colleagues perfectly placed for such job) - yes newspapers are after scandals but we do not expect front cover stories so we should not feel deterred or in-active that could demonstrate:
1) to the outside world: the value that we all preach (and are fully convinced) that we bring along to the EU.The only thing the citizen knows or seems to care is our salaries - so we must take action Is there a plan on how to mobilise the colleagues in case this be needed?
2) to the colleagues: as concerns passing your messages to the staff - why not consider creating a video/interview of 10 mins to disseminate it to all colleagues in answer to the videos we receive from our employer - emailing has a certain impact but videos nowadays have more - but please don't spent most of the energy on who is going to speak and by which syndicate - you have shown already your solidarity to create the common front please build on this all the way forward. -
|Support U4U !|
To deal with the constant attacks against the statute, to fight against the institutionalization of job insecurity, to protest against the downgrading of our working conditions, us, the staff, must be strong and needs to rally together.
That is why we urge you to join U4U now. We need members that will support us; we need members to help us develop our positions and to carry out our actions.
Without your strong and determined membership we have limited influence as a union. The more we are united, the stronger we are and the more we are ready to rally people together.
Refuse to be a casualty of the politics revealed in the recent announcements made during the last European Council.
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responsable de la rédaction : J.-P. Soyer
équipe de rédaction : Ruben Mohedano Brèthes, Paul Clairet, Fabrice Andreone, Sylvie Vlandas, Jacques Prade, Alain Hubrecht, Tomas Garcia Azcarate, Monique Jacques, Kim Slama, Gérard Hanney, Sazan Pakalin, Jessica Tengelidou, Agim Islamaj, Yves Dumont, Vlassys Sfyroeras, Rafael Marquez Garcia.