Brussels 15 May 2022
Note for the attention of Mr Johannes Hahn,
Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources
Subject: Outsourcing of the Wilson day nursery
Our children, future European citizens, who will soon take over the task of building the future of the European Union, must have access to a high standard of education. Similarly, their educators must also be respected and listened to in their requests and in the improvement of their quality of life at work.
Sadly, however, we note that our educator colleagues, Contract Agents, were handed a fait accompli on Friday 13 May 2022. Without any consultation or association, our colleagues were informed at a meeting chaired by the OIB of the outsourcing of the management of the Wilson day-care centre by Esedra, stating the following reasons:
- Lack of statutory staff and heavy reliance on structural agency staff
- Increased request for childcare facilities for the coming school year (2022-2023), which will require more staff
- No scope for creating new posts for educators as contract agents
Colleagues have called on us to ask you to formally deny that the company to which the Commission intends to subcontract the management of the crèche is not the same as the one that was responsible for the management of the Wayenberg crèche at the European Parliament, whose serious shortcomings were reported as early as 2020 by parents, staff representatives and MEPs, including:
- 17 nursery nurse changes for one child
- Staff at the end of their rope
- A deep loss of motivation among the teams
- Some nursery nurses did not know the name of the child under care
- Lack of communication between the company and parents
- Groups of children were left to be supervised by one caregiver
- The management on site did not seem to have any room for manoeuvre
- Limited opening hours, more than a year after the start of the pandemic, etc.
These very serious shortcomings would have led to the termination of the contract well before its initial duration. As we do not have this information, it is essential that we receive an urgent response from you in this regard as well.
Our educator colleagues deserve our full respect for their dedication and work in moulding our children into tomorrow’s citizens
It is inconceivable that the European institutions, and in particular the European Commission, show little concern for the working conditions and well-being of educational staff.
Imposing a decision without consulting the stakeholders, exposing them to total insecurity, thus creating a mental burden and unnecessary stress are important factors of psychosocial risks recognised by experts in the field.
Moreover, telling them outright, at the same meeting, that they will be reassigned to the European Schools is a total disregard for them! Is this how our colleagues are to be treated when you preach an institution of value and respect for staff?
Trust has been breached between our educator colleagues and the administration! Managing by trust has become a bland and cold motto in their eyes.
It is urgent to maintain a high standard of educational service!
Our colleagues know the relevant educational needs of our children, from expat families, of all 27 Member States, and more. They are in the best position to accompany them and provide them with excellence in their education.
By outsourcing childcare, all this knowledge and know-how will be shifted elsewhere without the same resources and without any guarantee of sustainability of the jobs.
Why have we ended up in this situation? How have the facilities for our children been managed?
Since 2004, following the enlargement of the EU, we have repeatedly called on the administration to respond to the request of parents and future parents that their children be cared for by qualified and experienced colleagues requiring necessary infrastructure.
In 2021, 2408 children were enrolled in after-school care. To date, only 156 statutory colleagues are on duty and structural temporary staff are regularly needed to fill the gap.
We are bitterly disappointed to see that, even if at the beginning some of the requests were taken into account, today a management of numbers without any human dimension has taken over and is rushing like a bulldozer to destroy everything!
Additional stress for parents
The health crisis has swept away all our baselines, and led us to implement new mechanisms, a new work structure, such as hybrid work and the HR strategy. This is already a quite heavy mental burden for all staff. If, in addition to these changes, our parent colleagues have to deal with this outsourcing, which will undoubtedly be followed by others, we risk dealing with situations of unnecessary stress.
For this reason, Mr. Commissioner, R&D asks you to intervene on this rather crucial issue and to deny this information.
R&D is committed to the united action of staff representation
R&D urgently requests DG HR to hold a meeting as soon as possible with the unions and the delegation of representatives of the crèches and day-care centres in order to find a solution:
- to listen to these colleagues,
- to improve their working conditions,
- to create new posts
Mr D. Muller, Head of Cabinet Hahn
Ms S. Bikar, Member of Cabinet Hahn
Mrs G. Ingestad, Director General, DG HR
Mr C. Roques, Director f.f. HR D
Mr M. Becquet, Director OIB
Mr E. Sakkers, Head of Unit HR F4
Mr L. Duluc, head of Sector HR E1