SOCIAL DIALOGUE WITHIN EXECUTIVE AGENCIES FINALLY, TRUE ADVANCES!

 

R&D has always advocated the establishment of a real social dialogue within the executive agencies bringing together the staff committees and the unions as is the case throughout all institutions.

In response to the claims of some directors, we have always emphasized that it is not acceptable that colleagues from executive agencies are less represented and defended than those of our institution. We have also indicated that these aspects also have an important role in the efforts of the Commission and the parent Directorates-General to im­prove the attractiveness of agencies by encouraging colleagues to join them.

 

Background: change of approach in EASME

In this context, on 8 March 2017 (link), in the face of an untenable situation within EASME, we have called on Mrs Irène Souka, Director-General DG HR, as well as Mrs Lowri Evans, supervisor Director-General of EASME, notably criticising the disdain for social dialogue and the role of trade unions following the refusal of human resources managers and EASME Director at the time to allow a CA colleague proposed for dismissal at the end of the probationary period to be assisted by a representative of our union during the dialogue with her reporting officer.

R&D had then requested the acceleration of the appointment procedure of the new director.

Furthermore, thanks to the intervention of DG HR, which confirmed that our requests were well founded, it has become possible for R&D to assist colleagues from EASME who had requested support and legal assistance. Thus, we were able to obtain the correction of seemingly arbitrary decisions of non-renewal of CA contracts, negative appraisal reports, etc., without having to wait for the nomination of the new Director.  

Similarly, we have asked IDOC and OLAF to investigate the alleged irregularities brought to our attention.

Taking office as Director of EASME, Julien Guerrier took decisions based on greater transparency, involvement of the staff in the running of the Agency and a better social dia­logue with both the staff committee and the trade unions.

R&D thanked this initiative and encouraged the continuation of these efforts (note of 8 November 2017).

 

Since then, regular meetings have been held between the Director of EASME and the trade unions of the European Commission – duly prepared by bila­teral meetings – with the help of colleagues from the staff committee of this Agency

This constructive dialogue has led to some progress on key issues for staff, including the ability to analyse and correct earlier shortcomings in several aspects of EASME’s staff policy by putting an end to the serious difficulties identified in the past, for example with regard to the absolutely unacceptable management of the access to telework within this Agency.

Similarly, it has been possible to discuss the application of the new GIPs for our CA colleagues, particularly with regard to the arrangements for access to open-ended contracts.

On these occasions, we were also able to take stock of other topics that are particularly important for the future of the executive agencies and, especially in a context of likely evo­lution in the months or years to come. Indeed, the increase in programme budgets under the multiannual financial perspectives could lead to massive reorganisations and even mergers of agencies and services.

However, to our great astonishment, the directors of the other agencies did not seem to want to join these meetings organized at EASME or organise similar meetings in their ser­vices.

This naturally caused concerns among colleagues who told R&D that it was not acceptable that the social dialogue is only reinforced within EASME and asked us to do the necessary so that such a dialogue is established in the other agencies as well.

In support of our efforts, we have always confirmed that there is no question of trying to play colleagues off against each other in a painful approach of “divide et impera“.

Indeed, in the face of the clumsy attempts to explain that the refusal of dialogue with unions was justified by the desire to recognize the Agency’s staff committee as the only inter­locutor, we have always reminded that, as is the case with the Commission, our efforts were aimed at strengthening collaboration and synergies with the staff committees of these agencies while confirming our collaboration with the NEASC and the Commission’s Central Staff Committee and its relevant local sections. This is in everyone’s interest.

 

Our note of January 15th to the attention of the Directors of ERCEA, INEA, REA and CHAFEA (link)…

For this reason, in our note, we addressed the directors of the other executive agencies and continued to request that all executive agencies be involved in these discussions.

This is also to jointly reflect on the interoperability between agencies and Commission and on the human resources strategy, to examine the career possibilities for contractual agents by unblocking career paths and by allowing job swaps and recruiting more widely by relying on the experiences gained in services and agencies.

 

…The favourable response of the Directors of ERCEA, INEA, REA and CHAFEA

We are pleased to inform you that the directors of the other executive agencies have responded favourably to our requests.

In particular, on 25 January, the Directors of ERCEA, INEA, REA and CHAFEA informed us of the following:

Message on behalf of the Directors of ERCEA, INEA, REA, CHAFEA) to the President of the staff union R&D (copy to DGs of parent DGs, chairpersons of the relevant Agencies’ Steering Committees and chairpersons of the relevant Agencies’ Staff Committees)

 Dear Mr Sebastiani,

In your note of 15 January you refer to the meeting of 18 December 2018 between the staff unions, the Directors of EASME and EACEA, and representatives of the staff committees of these agencies. You claimed that we would be reluctant to social dialogue with the staff unions and refused to participate to such meetings, thereby misin­forming about our position on this subject.

We would like to clarify that, prior to the meeting of 18 December 2018 referred to above, the Executive Agencies’ Directors have met on 29 November 2018 where, among other, the Director of EASME informed about his initiative to organise a second meeting with staff unions, following a first meeting that was organised on 15 No­vember 2017.

We agreed that the outcome of the meeting would be shared between us and that we would pursue our internal coordination in view of establishing a fruitful social dia­logue with all staff unions. The Directors of EASME and EACEA debriefed us after your meeting with them; we agreed that the Director of EASME would take the lead in contacting DG HR unit in charge of social dialogue on behalf of all Executive Agencies to seek advice on how to establish this dialogue in the most appropriate manner.

Meanwhile, the consultation of DG HR and further preparatory work among the six Executive Agencies is currently ongoing and all Agencies are working together to­wards establishing a fruitful social dialogue with the staff unions.

We hope that this clarification, demonstrating the will of all EAs in advancing social dialogue with staff unions in a consistent manner, will allow you to pass a more posi­tive message to all staff of the agencies.

P. Amor               D. Beckers                         M. Tachelet                             V. Wasbauer

ERCEA                  INEA                                    REA                                        CHAFEA

 

We have already sincerely thanked the directors of these agencies for their response and for their willingness to engage in a dialogue, and DG HR for its coordina­tion, which perfectly meets our demands and the expectations of colleagues and puts an end to a situation that had become impossible to justify.

For its part, R&D is listening to colleagues from executive agencies in order to represent their expectations and demands and defend their rights.

Similarly, R&D will continue to participate actively in all meetings organized with executive agencies in order to contribute to the strengthening of the social dialogue and thereby to increase the well-being of all colleagues.

 

Cristiano Sebastiani

President

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