DECISIONS IMPLEMENTING ARTICLE 42c OF THE STAFF REGULATIONS:
A SHAMEFUL MANAGEMENT BY DG HR AND WITH SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES
FOR THE COLLEAGUES CONCERNED WHO ARE FORCED TO GO TO COURT…!
R&D joins staff in Court!
As soon as R&D became aware of the conditions for the implementation of Article 42c of Staff Regulations by DG HR, we immediately denounced all the problems. In response to our positions, the administration made reassuring remarks, confirmed its commitment to the welfare principle towards its staff and assured us that each colleague concerned would receive accurate and timely information about the consequences of the above-mentioned decisions and that everyone’s expectations and their personal situation would be taken into account in order to avoid a harmful litigation …
In reality, the administration has shown no such concern. On the contrary, it has even decided to forcibly retire, without paying any compensation, staff who have reached the voluntary retirement age but who have the right to continue working for several years.
Worse still, as denounced before the Court of First Instance, for lack of clarity and information on the part of the administration, it appears that initially colleagues were misled and “would never agree to leave in the interest of the service if they had been properly informed of the consequences of such a departure”.
However, the sad reality has been quite different, namely that the decision taken by the Appointing Authority plunged them into a dramatic personal situation
In particular, as denounced before the Court of First Instance by one of these colleagues, the “brutal” reduction in income will have the effect of preventing him from covering his monthly mortgage repayments by obliging him “to put up for sale the house he owns to be able to repay the outstanding capital of the loan in order to prevent a public auction”.
For its part, R&D must therefore support the appeal to the Court of First Instance of one of its members faced with this situation.
IMPLEMENTATION OF ARTICLE 42c of the Staff Regulations is for DG HR:
a zero-cost HR strategy whose goal is to fire colleagues instead of thanking them for their loyal service to the EU …;
the compulsory departure with all the accompanying measures provided for in the Staff Regulations
(payment of the allowance, possibility to continue making pension contributions…);
becomes in the Commission
compulsory retirement, full stop.
Indeed, in spite of all the limits of the procedure denounced by R&D since last October the Commission, unlike the other institutions, has decided to apply this measure also to colleagues who have already reached the voluntary retirement age, but who have the option of staying in service for several years.
These colleagues were therefore compulsively retired without receiving any compensation and without being able to continue contributing for their pension!
If this approach should be confirmed in the future, it would have dramatic consequences for post-2004 colleagues who often need to contribute up to the maximum age for a decent pension.
Colleagues who reached the voluntary retirement age received an absolutely confused and pre-formatted letter of intent. As denounced in their requests for R&D assistance and in the appeal to the Court of First Instance, they then agreed and / or did not oppose the proposed measure, being convinced that they would be entitled to the measures provided for in Article 42c of the Staff Regulations, in particular the payment of the allowance provided for in Annex IV.
However, as soon as they discovered the sad reality and understood that they were going to be placed under compulsory pension without payment of any compensation, they immediately asked DG HR to suspend the application of this measure, emphasizing the dramatic financial consequences that this also would have at the personal and family levels.
All requests and actions have been futile and useless; DG HR wanted nothing to do with it and colleagues have had to turn to the Court.
Since transparency was a more than absurd concept for our administration, the concerned colleagues were not even able to obtain a copy of the note drawn up by their DG proposing the application of these new statutory provisions against them. In order to finally obtain this document, they had to invoke the Regulation on access to documents as a European citizen!
Some will say, however, that it is reassuring to note that the now legendary concern of DG HR has nevertheless granted these colleagues a three-month delay before they have to leave our institution and manage the disastrous consequences arising from the decision nearly taken without their knowledge.
Again, while this disrespectful attitude of the administration towards its staff may be thought inconceivable, it is however real despite all the efforts made by R&D since October 2016 to avoid such harmful actions against colleagues.
Chronology of a dialogue of the deaf with an administration that says it is listening to what staff have to say, but acts by royal decree.
From October 2016, R&D has called for transparency, requested that the rights of colleagues are respected and that this file is examined within the framework of social dialogue…
Indeed, alerted notably by HR managers of several DGs, we have, since 6 October, through our various communications (link), drawn attention to the need and urgency to ensure the greatest transparency of the institution’s intentions and, where appropriate, the procedure for implementing Article 42c of the Staff Regulations.
… R & D stresses at the outset the unacceptable divergences between the approach taken by the Commission and the other institutions
To this end, we have drawn up a comparative table highlighting the unacceptable gap between the application of these provisions by the Commission on the one hand and by the Council and the EEAS on the other (link).
In particular, we underlined that the issues involved in this procedure and the serious consequences for the concerned colleagues required that detailed procedures should be established in consultation with the staff representatives in order to ensure the transparency and fairness of decisions which could be adopted.
… On 28 October 2016, DG HR confirmed FINALLY that the Commission intends to apply Article 42c of the Staff Regulations while leaving objections and requests from R&D unanswered.
It was only faced with our determination to publicise this file that Mrs Souka finally confirmed by her note of last 28 October that the Commission intended to apply Article 42c without, however, deigning to reply to our request to bring the matter back to a social dialogue.
… On 10 November 2016, R&D referred the matter to Vice-President Georgieva
Given DG HR’s lack of response to the problems mentioned, and in particular the absence of any involvement of staff representation in the process, R&D therefore referred the matter to the Vice-President.
On 22 November 2016, the Central Staff Committee involved DG HR.
On 13 December 2016, a Social Dialogue meeting was FINALLY organized as letters of intent had already been sent to the colleagues concerned..
Finally, a social dialogue meeting was organised, whereas the internal procedure between DGs and DG HR had already taken place in the most complete opacity and the concerned colleagues had already received a letter informing them of the intention from the Appointing Authority to apply compulsory retirement to them. This letter did not clearly state their right to be accompanied, in particular, by a staff representative on the occasion of the meeting with the DG HR services … because as these services have claimed … it goes without saying…
At this social dialogue meeting, we once again denounced the fact that, unlike other institutions, Article 42c of the Staff regulations was implemented in the Commission without the adoption of any decision capable of formalising it, without any prior information or transparency regarding the procedure for appointing the concerned colleagues, without any involvement of the staff representation and without duly informing colleagues of the consequences that it could have on them.
R&D provides assistance to colleagues throughout the procedure
Subsequently, we attended and advised colleagues who had called on us, and this was also the case at the meetings with the DG HR services, which at least allowed us to understand exactly the scope of the decisions envisaged for each of the concerned colleagues. The colleagues explained, with supporting evidence, the serious consequences of the application of these measures, but none the less did not feel listened to.
Faced with the attitude of the DG HR, referral to the court was the only option possible, so R&D is at their side!
A shameful and contemptuous management!
Beyond the outcome that will be reserved by the Court to the appeals lodged, it has become really intolerable to hear, once again, a double language on the one hand valuing the staff of our institution, “the wealth of the Commission “, In videos and speeches and, on the other hand, to note that some allow themselves to reserve such a contemptuous treatment to their colleagues after years of good and loyal services!
All this is not worthy of the institution we have chosen to serve with pride and enthusiasm!