AST1 or AD5 at the Age of THIRTY-FIVE?

Then you are probably also a victim of
“new” COLLEAGUES and… the Commission

Our recent leaflets about promotions made many of you to ask also for an analysis of career perspectives for younger permanent staff and newcomers in general.
We are happy to oblige by providing a general state of the play for these colleagues:

Heavily discriminated against when they started to work for the Commission, the first generation of newly recruited staff after the Kinnock reform, suitably nicknamed … the Naufragés (or the Shipwrecked), realized very soon that being taken on at much lower salary and grade levels than provided by the general competitions they had succeeded before the reform, was just the tip of the iceberg.

R&D have done everything in our power to help this first generation of post reform victims…and we went even as far as to assign with them even the Commission to justice so as to defend their rights (for more about the misadventure of the Naufragés read more… )

But if this starter was difficult to stomach, the main course proved even stickier to swallow. The new adverse statutory framework confronted the Naufragés as well as all new coming staff thereafter, with much lighter and regressing salary steps, offering… less revenue advancement in every grade for periods much… shorter than before while obliging them to fight perpetually and year after year their… CDR to complete somehow timely a full career requiring… twice as many promotions than in the past [doubling, thus, the “excluded from promotion” years ] and with half of them to empty grades!

This situation has been having perverse consequences not only for the recently recruited staff but also for the Institution’s attractiveness in the labor market.
The Commission as employer has been unable to woo a great many potential high quality candidates because it offers worse than before salary and career perspectives, easily matched nowadays for most eligible candidates nearer to home.

R&D realized these dangers for both staff and the Commission in time. This is why we have fought hard against the Kinnock reform back in 2003/2004 and asked staff to mobilize and even to go on strike in order to avoid, among other things, the victimization and downgrading of future colleagues and the weakening of the European civil service as a whole.

The brave ones who, nevertheless, became permanent staff recently, probably also in the name of a European ideal that admittedly doesn’t pay an expatriate’s rent well enough any longer, were reserved more unpleasant surprises.
Actually the new Kallas reform of the appraisal, promotion and appeal system managed to change things for the …worse since it introduced a completely opaque staff appraisal procedure providing for enormous differences in promotion rewards [points] for minimal differences in real performance in conjunction to inadequate appeal treatment mechanisms.

R&D submitted our own proposals for a much leaner and transparent staff appraisal and promotion system on the base of rewards proportional to short and long term performance and merit, along the lines of the particularly successful system used in European Parliament (for our proposals see also CDR: end of a nightmare and The fox: CDR abolished) bearing also in mind the critical situation this new reform was about to create for newly recruited colleagues

Actually for the recently recruited AST and AD staff who usually land in Commission’s services at the age of 35, the way the Kallas reform complemented
the Kinnock method means that, in order to get a full pension covering all steps of respective final grades, at the age of normal retirement [65 years], they need to collect more or less …220/22 points every year.

Yes, believe it or not,
RIGHT NOW MORE OR LESS 10 PROMOTION POINTS A YEAR are necessary for a complete… career if, for instance, you are recruited as AD5 at the age of 35!

This frustrates further young and no so young permanent staff and makes it impossible for them to accomplish a full career by the age of retirement.
In other words, due to the Kinnock career structure, at least the last 2-3 promotions have become practically inaccessible for normal hard working and high performing “young” and not so young recently recruited colleagues.

And necessary promotion points, when considered in conjunction with real age data, lead to the same preoccupying conclusions even for newcomers starting at higher initial grades.

Take for example YOUR OWN CASE:

If you are curious enough to do the math for yourself, let’s play the game together:

– Add thresholds of remaining promotions in your case.
– Subtract your rucksack today. You see already how many points you need to get you to the summit of your career.
– Divide this number by the years you still have to go before retirement minus 8 [8 being the number of years corresponding to the 4 “real” salary steps for career’s final grades].
– The number you have just found represents the promotion points you are required to collect on average per year for a complete career.

Too busy to spend time like this? Then have a look at our own, indicative but revealing, calculations for AD staff. (No password needed on the excel sheet)

download 1 /documents/pensions/full_pension_calculator.xls
or download 2 /documents/pensions/full_pension_calculator.xlsx
or download 3 /documents/pensions/full_pension_calculator_unp.xlsx

Download a simulation tool to calculate your average career by fixing your age of pensioning (for AST and AD)

download 1 /documents/pensions/theoretical_career_average_simulation.xlsx

Now you know that unless you are one of the very happy but few high flyers, as AD5/6/7/8 or even AD9 staff you need much more than the 5 miserable promotion points awarded on average yearly to the overwhelming majority of staff and/or the 6 average points given every year, even if rapid careers are taken into account. So, for recently recruited staff, career perspectives look like a complete Impasse.

R&D have succeeded in imposing internal competitions for management positions as career shortcuts/accelerators for recently recruited AD staff in initial grades and have negotiated a plan of promotion threshold stabilization and …reduction last year so as to make things somehow easier also for new AST and AD staff.

All the same the situation is still unacceptable for recently recruited colleagues since they will STILL be required to have an average of 9 points yearly for a normal career even after the final reduction and complete stabilization of promotion thresholds.

As if it weren’t enough that the Kinnock statutory framework makes complete careers impossible for newcomers, the present Administration keeps applying a further restrictive interpretation of Staff Regulations maximizing burdens and obligations while curtailing even more the already limited staff rights concerning appeals and/or promotion rates and quotas.

Specifically for certain initial AST and AD grades, it became apparent last year that their promotion quotas were abused in order to relieve promotion pressure from intermediate grades very much the way that AD14 performance level quotas have been misused to “equilibrate” the appraisal quota for higher AD grades two years in a row and sheer disrespect for AST 4D, AST 6C, AST 10(ex B) and AD 13 promotion rates have provided this year the Administration with a budgetary lifeline almost as much beyond the limits of legality as its dubious practice of unduly favoring Cabinet staff. (for details see CDR: The staff is fighting for a point – the “meteorite” gets 120 in one go and CDR: The Missing Promotions )

In R&D, although we reject outright the logic of the present appraisal/promotion/appeal system, we have made every effort to impede erroneous application of already negative rules for the new staff and, henceforth, we have been participating actively in every instance treating appeals and regulating promotions in order to defend particularly the rights of staff in initial grades. ( for our CDR activities to help the Staff as well as the Commission and its Administration see: CDR: The CDR Tragedy)

We remain convinced too that if the necessary measures are not taken to rectify the situation as soon as possible, the structural distortion of career perspectives for newly recruited staff will inexorably end up depriving the Institution of any possibility to rely on “home made” managers for its top brass posts in the Administration.

It would be a pity for real merit over time and the vast experience of Commission staff.
It would be dangerous for the impartiality of our European Civil Service.
It would be an unacceptable low return on the investment made on our personnel by European citizens and taxpayers.

And if anybody happens to believe that this is just a fine way for unqualified political parachutists to… help!