Between hopelessness and uncertainties, my heart sways…
R&D strongly supports our colleagues in DGT!

Our colleagues in DGT carry out essential work for the institution and the European Union.

The Commission must finally recognise in practice and not just on paper that, as Umberto Eco pointed out and the French Presidency of the EU has just confirmed: “the working language of the Union… is translation!”

Missing from European Quarter for the last 10 years….

Colleagues from the Directorate-General for Translation (DGT) have alerted us about their current difficult situation.

Indeed, the DGT/ Brussels section has been located in EVERE for over 10 years, completely decentralised and isolated from the other DGs, whereas DGT’s mission is to work with and for the other DGs and services.

What is even more worrying is that as of today, nobody knows where DGT/Brussels will be located at the end of 2023. This Brussels section, which is essential to our institution, should be centrally located to enable us to work even more effectively with our translator colleagues.

Moreover, DGT colleagues have the right to know whether they will continue to occupy the G6 and G12 buildings until the end of 2023 without fear of being unexpectedly and unannounced moved to a single building before that date.

Therefore, DGT/Brussels should be located in the European Quarter, in a safe and secure area with a building offering the best working conditions for staff.

Return to the office: some reasonable proposals…

The Permanent delegation of translators (DPT) for both Brussels and Luxembourg sites urged the Acting Director General, Mr Ellinides, and particularly the OIB (Office for Infrastructure and Logistics in Brussels) to be involved and consulted regarding the implementation of new decision on working time and hybrid working.

In a note dated 2 May 2022 ARES (2022)3364676, they proposed a number of points that deserve careful consideration. This includes the provision of an individual office for any translator who is required or wishes to work on DGT premises at least 60% of the time as stated in principle 6 of the  Communication on the future working environment at the European Commission (C(2009)7450 of 16/10/2019), “individual offices are the most suitable for working on complex tasks requiring a high degree of concentration” whilst shared offices (for two people) should only be offered to those who telework more than 40%.

This request is legitimate given the particular function of translators and has the merit of bringing all colleagues together in the same DG as was the case in the past.

Return to the office: but in what surroundings?

In addition, the DPT calls for better working conditions, such as adequate heating and catering in all current buildings (rue de Genève) when moving.

R&D urges the OIB to be proactive and work closely with DGT colleagues and the DPT, consulting directly with staff and keeping them informed on what is a very sensitive issue.

The OIB is at the service of the staff and must do its best to provide a user-friendly environment that meets appropriate health and safety standards.

To this end, the Commission must take into account the specificities and requirements of each DG while prioritising the well-being of the staff above any economic and commercial considerations of a private entrepreneur. In this respect, no one knows to date whether the G6 Nursery and kindergarten centre – currently housed in the canteen – will remain there until July 2022 (as initially announced) or even after that date, or whether it will be transferred elsewhere after that date.

All these questions need to be answered as soon as possible by DG HR!

Amid all this gloom, we can perhaps comfort ourselves with a ray of hope.

An Acting Director General who is more concerned about his staff…

R&D would like to highlight the efforts of the Acting Director General, Mr Christos ELLINIDES, who is more proactive in safeguarding, protecting and improving the well-being of his staff working in the DGT.

He asked the Director of the OIB to open the cafeterias of G-6 and G-12  5 days a week as of 2 May 2022 in his note ARES (2022) 2783734 of 8.4.2022), in order to ensure the best return to the office for colleagues. He is not the only one who cares about the well-being of his staff, three other Directors General (DG AGRI, MARE, ECHO), preceded him in their joint note Ares (2002) 1815370 -11-03-2022. They requested the reopening of the canteen and cafeteria in L-130, which is also highly appreciated by the other DGs.

This is a very good example to follow! Staff well-being is not just an empty word, it is an employer’s obligation! In this respect, we would like to sincerely thank the OIB colleagues in charge of this dossier for the efforts they are making to meet the expectations of the staff.

R&D continues to fight for the best working conditions for all colleagues!