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Staff GA 2011

Staff General Assembly to support Contract Agents (17 February 2011)



Resolution as adopted by the GA :

Staff General Assembly on 17 February in support of Contract Agents
 and for the unity and the independence of the EU Public Service

Colleagues working in the Commission under contractual modalities make up 44% of Commission staff and an even greater percentage in Delegations, Offices, Agencies and Representations. These colleagues often do the same work as Officials but are mostly in a precarious situation and are paid according to a different salary grid.

This policy is unfair to Contract Agents, is affecting all staff and is harmful to the European institutions.

This policy is deemed risky and unsustainable by many senior managers and Commissioners.

This policy is openly not accepted by more than 5.500 colleagues of all staff categories who have signed a petition asking for:

• Renewing contracts beyond 3 years

• Organising access to Temporary Agent positions with an unlimited contract for those Contract Agents working on permanent tasks

• Organising, consequently, internal competitions that would give former Contract Agents the chance to become Officials and to have a professional career in the European Public service.

We call on the staff representative organisations, the Administration, and the Commission to immediately launch negotiations.

This policy can change.

This policy must change!


                  Download the audio track of this event (MP3)

Vidéo : See the video of this event

Introductory Speech

Bonjour à tous! On a beaucoup de participants Anglophones, permettez moi donc le shift to English …

Good afternoon everybody and welcome.

Today we are gathered as a General Assembly of the Commission staff in support to all contract agents.

The reason for our presence is to capitalise on the huge success of the petition and open negotiations with the administration. Jacques will explain the next steps and I will give the floor to the Unions to tell us how they will support us.

I want to thank all of you, all of us, for this initial success!! The signatures came from both officials and contract agents.

Please recall that this action is in favour of the Commission, an institution that we cherish and want to make better!

It is in favour of contract agents, of course, and in the spirit of a united European public service.

The programme for this meeting is:


First each person around the table will present itself.


After Jacques will give an update of where we are.


Then Victoria will go through the resolution.


Then to ISPRA and Luxembourg, each for 5 minutes.


Afterwards, I will invite the Unions that openly supported our initiative (ADL, SFE, SID, U4U, USHU, USF, USL) to say a word. I really mean one word!


Finally, we will have a 30 mn for questions and answers!

At the end, if you feel like it, we can even bring the resolution to President Barroso.

Speech by Jacques during the meeting

The unfair situation of the staff hired by the Commission and its negative impacts for all the staff and for the Institution.

Some facts :


EC staffing: 41 000 colleagues


Official: 56%


Staff hired by the Commission through a contract: 44% including, among others,


Contract Agents 15%


Local agents in Delegation: 8%


Temporary agents: 5%


Service providers: 7%


Interim staff: 2%

Over the past years, significant increase of the number of staff hired by the Commission

We consider that the present staff policy is unfair for our colleagues working with a contract, dangerous for all the staff and harmful to the European Institutions. In short this policy does not respect neither the basic social principles nor sound administration and management principles that the EC should promote!

1) This employment policy is in contradiction with basic rules and principles of labour laws shared by most Member States and which are parts of the so-called “European Social Model”!

- Indefinite period contracts should be the rule and fixed period contracts should be the exception: In the EC many contract agents working in the EC DGs or in Representations do not enjoy this principle! This is also the case for Temporary agents confronted to the 3 years limit.

- Fixed term contracts should be used for carrying fixed term tasks: We know that in the EC contract agents hired for a maximum duration of 3 years fulfil permanent tasks!

- For an equal work, employees should receive an equal pay (or at least should be included in the same salary grid): We all know that many colleagues (in particular CA) are fulfilling core tasks, are representing the Commission, are doing the same jobs as Official but are not paid according to the same salary grid. The EC doesn't apply to CA in delegation the same pay scale they used to benefit in Brussels. However all the colleagues hired by the EC and in charge of financial operations are liable in case of mistake on their own financial resources notwithstanding their wages.

- When hiring new employees the employer should guarantee that professional experiences are equally taken into account: But in the EC, the maximum professional experience that can be acknowledged for contract agents working in Delegations, Agencies and Representations and Offices is different from those working in Brussels. Hence the grades are different and wages also! Our CA colleagues working in EC Representations have the feeling that “they are the lowest paid and that they are a separate lower grade of workers”. The AC would like their status and grade to be homogenized whatever the place they work. Some colleagues AC who moved from HQs to a Delegation have been offered a contract with a downgraded position and with a lowest/decreased level of salary. This situation does not exist in any civil service in Europe but the European Commission.

- At the very least, a Public Employer should care about the future of their hired staff once their contracts are completed: Nothing about that for the EC! The only provision foreseen by the EC for staff hired with a fixed term period is the strict restriction to work with NGOs or private companies with which the CA could have had a professional relationship!

2) This Policy is in total contradiction with basic principles of sound administration!

- A sound administration should take care of its own institutional memory; this is a pledge for ensuring the continuity of a public service: Within the EC the high turn over of CA put at risk this memory. 2009 AIDCO Internal Control System self assessment “The turn over in recruitment is inevitably resulting in a loss of institutional memory which has detrimental effects on the continuity and visibility management in HQs. High turn over might negatively impact the performance”.

- A sound administration should ensure a maximum transparency in particular on budgetary affairs: within the EC budget there are hidden staff costs with, for example, CA paid under operational budgets.

- A sound administration should assess seriously the financial impacts of different staff policy options: Who knows the real cost of the high CA turn over? Turn over with additional cost linked to training, to removal expenses.

3) This policy is in contradiction with basic principles of Human Resource Management!

We are told by our managers that we “we are one team working for Europe” but we are in reality divided into many different categories without any kind of management rationality! We have the feeling that the only human resource management principles applied in this institution is “divide and rule”! Many colleagues have the feeling that there is nothing in this policy enabling them to build a real professional career.

This Staff policy is dangerous for all these categories in particular for the Officials! Giving in today to an unfair system for hired staff (CAs, Local Agents, TA…) means accepting tomorrow that the status of officials will be weakened.

This policy must change! This policy can change provided we stand firm and united!

We can contribute together to change this policy but we must then take into account our strengths and weaknesses. If we can take advantage of opportunities and manage risks!

Managing risks:

- We must resist the tendency to split our movement into several closed corporatist actions; CA fighting only for the unique interest of the CAs, Official only for the interests of Official, Local Agents for the only interest of the LA. Every negotiation for a specific category of staff must take into account the situations of the colleagues of other categories. This is the only way for joining strengths and to really influence future negotiations.

Taking advantage of opportunities:

- We have created a momentum for changing the situation and we are able to demonstrate that this situation is not sustainable

- We are more powerful that we think: 5500 colleagues have signed our petition asking for change.

- We are more and more numerous in the meetings that we organise

- We stand united; Officials, CAs, TA, LA are working together in our Collective

- We stand united: the colleagues working in the Collectif are members of different trade unions, whether in the majority or the minority.

Together with the support of Trade Unions we will push the EC to change this policy!

Because our analysis is right, because we are increasingly strong, we know that the Commission will have to address our problems.

During the future negotiation it will be necessary to address the specific situations of the different colleagues, whether they are working in HQs, in Delegations, Offices agencies and Representations; whether they are CA Art 3a or 3b or TA art 2a 2b or 2d! However, we must ensure that every negotiation for a certain category of staff will take also into consideration the impacts of the solutions proposed on the other categories including the situation of the Officials. This is the only way for reinforcing each other and for guaranteeing the Unity and the solidarity of all the European staff!!!

The Resolution presented by Victoria is reflecting this spirit of Unity.

This resolution is in line with the petition signed by our 5500 colleagues.

We consider that it is a good basis for negotiation. Our role is now to hand over this Resolution to the Trade Unions asking them to open negotiations with the Administration and with the College.

But we will also need to keep mobilised in order to exert pressure when needed.


Speeches by the Unions

U4U On ressent aujourd'hui une grande joie et une grande émotion de voir le personnel être à nouveau mobilisé, attentif à ses conditions de travail, à son métier, faisant entendre ses attentes dans l'unité croissante de ses composantes et de ses organisations.

U4U /RS soutient l'activité et les revendications du Collectif des contractuels dés le départ, et ce pour trois raisons:

1. Le sort fait à nos collègues contractuels est injuste, la précarité frappe durement nos jeunes collègues, entravant leur entrée dans la vie active et la vie normale;

2. La précarisation de l'emploi nuit gravement à notre institution, à son activité, à sa permanence, dont dépend grandement notre statut;

3. La division croissante du personnel - entre jeunes et moins jeunes, permanents et précaires, agents des nouveaux états membres et ceux des anciens, entre fonctionnaires entrés en service avant la réforme et ceux qui sont entrés en service après la mise en œuvre de celle-ci etc. - est un poison mortel pour la défense de ses intérêts collectifs, pour la défense de l'institution.

C'est pourquoi, dés le départ, U4U/RS a fait de l'action en faveur de l'unité du personnel, de ses composantes, de ses organisations, un de ses principaux axes de travail se concrétisant pas des démarches plus pointues en faveur des jeunes collègues, des 55+, des contractuels etc. mais aussi en faveur de la constitution, avec d'autres organisations, d'une majorité syndicale regroupant en terme de représentativité les 3/4 du personnel.

L'assemblée général du 17 février vise l'unité entre fonctionnaires et contractuels qui ne peut passer que par la prise en compte des préoccupations de chaque catégorie.

Une bonne partie des attentes des contractuels en matière d'emploi durable et payé équitablement, c'est à dire sur les mêmes échelles de rémunération que ceux des fonctionnaires, lorsque le travail effectué par eux est de même nature, est repris dans l'appel des 6000 qui constitue le socle de l'activité du Collectif des contractuels et est soutenue par l'assemblée générale d'aujourd'hui à travers sa résolution.

Cette assemblée répète avec force que la politique de la précarité doit cesser, que la précarité peut être réduite significativement et qu'elle doit l'être. L'assemblée a aussi demandé l'ouverture immédiate d'un dialogue social au sein de l'institution.

Sachons ensemble trouver des solutions justes pour nos collègues et nécessaires pour l'institution avant que les démolisseurs de la fonction publique, en embuscade, n'imposent les leurs en divisant le personnel.

Call to the staff

Staff General Assembly to support Contract Agents

17 February at 12:45hrs,
Charlemagne Building Room A. de Gasperi

Are you:


A Contract Agent in a precarious situation?


A Contract Agent without a serious career perspective?


An Official affected by the constant turnover of Contract Agents?


An Official concerned about the integrity of the EU Civil Service?

If the answer is yes, you must attend the Staff General Assembly to support Contract Agents!

Over 5000 colleagues have signed the petition in support of Contract Agents

Colleagues working in the Commission under contractual modalities make up 44% of Commission staff and an even greater % in EU Delegations, Agencies, Offices, and Representations. Many of these colleagues remain in a precarious situation (contract limited to 3 years). Despite often doing the same work as Officials, they are paid according to a different salary grid.


This policy is unfair to contract agents, is affecting all staff and is harmful to the European institutions


This policy is openly not accepted by many colleagues at all levels of the staff hierarchy


This policy is deemed risky and unsustainable by many senior managers and Commissioners

EU High Representative/Commission Vice-President Catherine Ashton has acknowledged that the problem of Contract Agents must be solved before the end of the year

Commissioner for Administration Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ, has recently informed EC Staff that the Commission will address this problem

It is now the time to change this policy, we can make this change happen soon!

We must be numerous at the Staff General Assembly so we can really make the case for this issue to be solved as soon as possible. This really is a case of "the more the merrier!"

We will call on the Administration, Trade Unions, and the Commission to urgently launch negotiations:


To renew contracts beyond 3 years


To give Contract Agents working on permanent tasks the possiblity to become Temporary Agents with an unlimited contract


To organise consequently internal competitions that would give Contract Agents the opportunity to become officials


Assemblée générale en faveur des agents contractuels

17 Février à 12h45,
bâtiment Charlemagne salle A. de Gasperi



Un agent contractuel dans une situation précaire?


Un agent contractuel, sans perspective de carrière sérieuse?


Un Fonctionnaire concerné par le "turn over" constant des agents contractuels?


Un fonctionnaire préoccupé par l'intégrité de la fonction civile de l'UE?

Si la réponse est oui, vous devez assister à l'Assemblée générale en faveur des agents contractuels!

Plus de 5000 collègues ont signé la pétition en faveur des agents contractuels

Les Collègues travaillant à la Commission avec un contrat représentent plus de 44% du personnel et même plus dans les Délégations, Agences, Offices et Représentations de l'UE. Nombreux sont ceux qui sont dans une situation précaire (contrat limité à 3 ans). Bien qu'ils fassent souvent le même travail que les fonctionnaires, il sont payés sur une grille salariale différente.


Cette politique est injuste pour les agents contractuels. Elle affecte l'ensemble du personnel et est nocive pour les institutions européennes


Cette politique est ouvertement contestée par de nombreux collègues à tous les niveaux de la hiérarchie du personnel


Cette politique est considérée comme risquée et non durable par de nombreux cadres supérieurs et par les commissaires

Mme Catherine Ashton, Haut Représentante de l'UE et Vice-Présidente de la Commission a reconnu que le problème des agents contractuels doivent être résolus avant la fin de l'année

Mr Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ, Commissaire en charge de l'administration , a récemment informé le personnel que la Commission doit se pencher sur ce problème

Il est maintenant temps de changer cette politique, nous pouvons faire ce changement arrive bientôt!

Nous devons être nombreux à l'Assemblée générale du personnel afin que nous puissions vraiment mettre tout le poids nécessaire pour que cette question soit résolue le plus tôt possible.

Nous demandons à l'administration, aux syndicats, et à la Commission à lancer d'urgence des négociations:


En vue de renouveler les contrats au-delà de 3 années


Pour donner aux agents contractuels travaillant sur des tâches permanentes la possibilité de devenir des agents temporaires avec un contrat à durée indéterminée


Pour organiser en conséquence des concours internes qui donneraient aux agents contractuels la perspective de devenir fonctionnaires




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