Le Renard Déchaîné special “Delegation of new tasks to the Executive Agencies – Reorganization of DG RTD”
R&D at your disposal!
Thank you for your trust!
Throughout the making process of the decision to delegate new tasks to the Executive Agencies (hereinafter EA), a large number of you have called on R&D by informing us of your doubts and also of your fears, regarding both colleagues who are intended to integrate the Executive Agencies and those who will remain in the Directorates-General.
From the start, we would like to thank you for your trust.
We have responded to your questions, forwarded your concerns to the competent services and taken into account your recommendations in the context of our demands during the negotiations organised in this context.
Closure of CHAFEA: A black page for our institution
Similarly, we have criticised the total lack of transparency in the management of this exercise, starting with the decision to close the CHAFEA agency that we were the first to denounce after the administration had formally denied that this would be the case.
This is unacceptable management which is still ongoing, with the purely bureaucratic approach which the representatives of DG HR continue to demonstrate in the management of the joint working group, which was finally set up at request of the staff representatives to provide support for our CHAFEA colleagues.
On 12 February 2021, the Single Establishment Act (Commission Implementing Decision establishing the new executive agencies) was adopted by the College and will apply from 1April.
In this respect, we had already welcomed President von der Leyen’s decision to revise the initial proposal quite profoundly in order to take even better into account the “health” dimension, all the more important in the face of the terrible COVID 19 pandemic.
The reorganization of the DGs concerned by this delegation exercise
In this context, the College first took charge directly and then adopted on 24 February 2021 the decision on the reorganization of all the DGs affected by this delegation 1.
The new reorganization of DG RTD: a reduction of 299 posts! R&D alongside colleagues affected by these measures!
DG RTD being the most impacted by those measures, the Director-General of RTD presented to the staff, on 16 February, the proposal for a new organization chart submitted to the College ( link).
He has explained the reasons for the new structure and the justifications for each of these measures. He pointed out that, specifically, there was a reduction of 299 posts, including 184 posts for EAs by 1 April, 81 posts deployed to the research family DGs, and 34 posts for legal and financial assistants deployed to other Commission DGs requiring such profiles.
On the one hand, the announcement of such far-reaching measures has given rise to a new wave of questions and concerns being submitted to us by you and that we are taking care of in order to ensure the appropriate follow-up, also with the relevant services.
On the other hand, an exercise of this magnitude must be carried out with the close involvement of staff representation. R&D calls for this to be put in place without delay.
R&D still and always alongside EA staff and those who are going to join it….
In particular, we have already received many questions raised by colleagues affected by this transfer to the EA or wishing to join them in the future, especially with regard to recruitment and working conditions in the EAs, the applicable procedures for management of career as well as the functioning of social dialogue and the possibility of effectively asserting their rights.
This new delegation exercise should also make it possible to turn the page once and for all on the problems observed in the past within the AEs.
In the recent past, R&D has never neglected its criticism to the unjustifiable gap within EAs concerning the implementing rules and procedures within the Commission.
We also denounced the unacceptable attitudes of certain ‘small heads’ which have been well known for all too long, that the Directors did not seem to be able to manage or even worse, blindly supported, and that the parent Directorates-General pretended not knowing about, even though these “managers” appear in their organization charts and they are, therefore, fully responsible for them.
All too often, we have regrettably found that the management method was based on the sole principle of authority, and that the “fait du prince” was the only source of law. Everything possible was done to ensure a climate of of widespread fear by shamelessly abusing the precarious status of our colleagues, by taking advantage of the expectation of renewal of contracts and the impossibility of mobility.
“Unum castigabis, centum emendabis”
In addition, colleagues who would have dared to show their legitimate dissatisfaction were systematically convicted of the crime of lèse-majesté with the obvious aim of dissuading anyone who would have even just thought about following their example.
On several occasions, we have made our Legal Service – composed by several highly specialized lawyers – available to colleagues who had called for our assistance, which made it possible to rectify unacceptable decisions which had been considered to have been adopted.
Similarly, we have asked DG HR to leave its ‘lethargy’, to stop ‘looking elsewhere’, finally demonstrating to EA colleagues that in no way they were regarded as ‘second level’ staff left to their fate, without the institution having to deal with them.
First and foremost we have denounced the absence of any real social dialogue and stressed the need and the urgency to correct this unacceptable situation.
In keeping with our always-constructive approach, we have put forward proposals for concrete improvements and initiated the necessary steps at all levels.
… FINALLY, first steps in the right direction for the establishment of genuine social dialogue…
We were therefore pleased to see that initial progress had been made, starting with the signing of an MOU between staff representation and the directors of the EA, with a view to finally establishing a clear framework for the organization of social dialogue within the EA and the necessary interactions with the negotiations organized at the Commission ( link)
… in order to FINALLY start negotiating the requests and expectations of EA staff
In the framework of the dialogue organized in this way, it was then finally possible to discuss in a constructive spirit first with the HR departments of the agencies and then with the Directors of the agencies and in the greater unity of action between trade unions and staff committees of the agencies, the difficulties encountered and the solutions that could be adopted.
It was then possible to address crucial aspects for our colleagues relating to all aspects of their careers.
We were glad to reach initial operational conclusions by mutual agreement covering all the aspects addressed, also establishing the successive stages of this negotiation.
Operational conclusions of the meeting between the Executive Agencies, the Trade Union Representatives and the Executive Agencies’ Staff Committees
08 December 2020, 16.30-18.00
2. Discussion on the proposals from the working groups
3. New delegation to the agencies
Joint Meeting EAS/TUs (08/12/20) –Next steps summary
(1) Structural teleworking
(2) Teleworking from abroad
(3) Titles and Job Descriptions
(4) Langage courses organised by the Commission
…However, MUCH REMAINS TO BE DONE and we will continue to work hard to ensure that staff’s expectations are met.
In this respect, it is also necessary that the Commission’s central services must pop their “bubble” and quit their “purely accounting” approach: EA colleagues are not and cannot be treated as mere appropriations!
Similarly, discussions were held with DGHR, DG BUDG and the SG concerning the impact on the staff of this delegation of new missions to the EAs, regarding in particular the terms of employment, the succession of contracts, and the fairness and transparency of transfers and recruitments.
Together with the other unions and the Staff Committees, R&D did not fail to denounce the sometimes very unacceptable aspects of the proposals presented by proposing solutions that could correct them.
It was regrettable to note that the central services have seemed to continue adopting a purely bureaucratic and accounting approach, sometimes giving the impression of treating EA colleagues as “mere appropriations”…
Information meeting – New delegation of programmes to Executive Agencies
Brussels, 12 November 2020 16:00
SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS
Information meeting – New delegation of programmes to Executive Agencies
Brussels, 13 November 2020 16:00 (Video Conference)
SUMMARY OF QUESTIONS TO ADRESS
A cost-benefit analysis…. “mystical”….
In particular, the cost-benefit analysis on the savings expected from this delegation has become almost mystical in the course of the discussions so that it was impossible to grasp the rationale behind it and to take cognizance of its precise content, which seemed to evolve in the course of the development of the proposal with the clear aim of justifying it ex post… although it was supposed to be the ex ante justification for it…
…. to try to justify unrealistic productivity gains…
The productivity improvements envisaged in the EAs clearly lack any connection with the reality of the current working conditions and workload, which are already very heavy in the EAs.
Such unrealistic speculations did not fail to provoke colleagues’ anger and very firm and fully justified reactions from the directors of the Agencies.
… in order to hide a growing gap between available posts and tasks to be carried out:
Similarly, the reductions in posts announced in the future in the establishment plan of some EA, and in particular for EASME, without convincing explanations on their management, have raised concerns among colleagues about the stability of their jobs.
Fears, all the more understandable, in view of the disastrous management in the closure of the CHAFEA Agency, which has given rise to the greatest concern for all EA staff to fear, now, the same fate in the future.
In particular, we pointed out that the consequence of this disastrous and shameful management was that the staff of the other agencies were now entitled to believe that their contracts could in turn be interrupted automatically and under the same unacceptable conditions for the closure of CHAFEA, should the Commission decide — both brutally and overnight — to close one or more of the other agencies.
As an example, the planned staff reduction of 35 % in time for EASME is accompanied by a corresponding reduction in appropriations of only 8 %.
“Doing more with fewer resources” cannot be the “magic recipe!”
Just as for REA, a 40 % increase in the budget is accompanied by only a 11 % increase in staff.
In these circumstances, it is perfectly understandable that the staff may fear, in addition to the stability of their job, a significant increase in the workload, even though it is already more than significant.
The responses provided by the institution’s central services, purely bureaucratic and devoid of any empathy, have only increased these fears.
Thank you to Commissioner Hahn for the attention provided to EA staff
In this context, it was highly appreciated that Commissioner Hahn was sensitive to the call made to him and decided to send a video message to the EA staff in order to confirm the Commission’s attention to these colleagues, the recognition for the huge work done so far, confirming that he listens to their questions and concerns.
This was the first time that a Commissioner for Human Resources addressed EA staff and we would like to thank Commissioner Hahn very sincerely.
Efforts need to proceed and social dialogue strengthened
Throughout this process, we have consistently reiterated that genuine communication requires not only listening to colleagues well before taking decisions by closely involving them in the process, but also that, once the decisions are implemented, it is important to proceed with the dialogue by collecting feedback in order to correct possible mistakes.
R&D still and always listening to you and at your service!
On our part, we will, of course, continue to make every effort to offer to colleagues from the EAs and the directorates-general concerned by this delegation exercise, all the necessary legal assistance, particularly with regard to any difficulties related to their assignment.
By ensuring the utmost confidentiality, our specialists are at your disposal to help you and assist you at any step, and to answer your questions.
R&D Tél. : 55676 ; OSP-RD@ec.europa.eu