3. PAY
The introduction of the “Contractual Agent” status at the time of the Kinnock reform of 2004 has been utterly disastrous for all staff who are now Contractual Agents. Everybody agrees, and they are even prepared to put it in writing, but not so many have done what we must all do now – Contractual Agents (CAs) and officials alike – and mount a challenge. R&D here sets out its work, its ambitions and its undertakings in a series of five flyers. This flyer deals with pay and spending power.
Contractual Agents: big savings for the Institution
The main aim of the establishment of CAs triggered by the pro-reformists was to make savings at the expense of staff members in the weakest positions. For example, a service like the OIB with 557 CAs in January 2008 says it is saving the Commission € 18 million every year compared with a normal Commission service. The savings come from many sources: they include the fact that the level of re- cruitment provided for by the Staff Regulations has not been as low as it is now since 2004. Another legacy of the 2004 reform has been the total failure to take professional experience into account. Offices where colleagues shared cramped space, the non-payment of certain benefits – all of these things help to develop second-class colleagues.
R&D calls a halt to the low-pay policy
When the status of Parliamentary Assistants was being negotiated in December 2009, the Council, the Parliament and the Commission all wanted to offer the same terms and conditions, but this was op- posed by R&D and the Alliance. Thanks to our trade union majority and to support from colleagues, the salary grid has been reviewed and adjusted upwards. We are hopeful of changing things if Con- tractual Agents put their trust in a strong team of representatives. What we were able to do on behalf of Parliamentary Assistants is what we would like to do for CAs.
R&D defends Contractual Agents’ spending power
The drive for economies has led the Commission to set up a large number of agencies and offices to do the same work with more staff and less money. Much remains to be done to resist this trend, and R&D needs your support. R&D has not been standing idly by, and has already reached agreement on opening a new round of talks on the whole issue, with a view to:
dealing with problems associated with the under-grading of CAs recruited into a Function Group lower than the one that matches their real tasks; analysing the issue of salaries in depth (the DG ADMIN will established a working group with the trade unions to produce a comparative study on salary conditions in Brussels and Luxembourg);
facilitating the move from one Function Group to another.