In many ways, Contractual Agents (CAs) constitute the centre of expertise in Delegations. Their technical knowledge of the region and of procedures make them vitally important colleagues in carrying out the missions of the Commission’s External Service. Under the Kinnock Reform, former ALATs had to change contrats and accept a decrease of their salary. R&D-Alliance has encouraged and accompanied CAs through the EPSO procedure, and this has confirmed their potential, and at the same time given them public and official “legitimacy” and recognition.
To make an impact in the debate, Contractual Agents must clearly choose a list that has a strong trade union base within the Institution. By covering 70% of staff in the whole Institution, only R&D and ALTERNANCE 2009-2012 can boast of such strength.
• To establish a contractual staff policy (e.g. recruitment, access to open-ended contracts, training, tasks and responsibilities, promotion, moving from one category to another, and mobility), and the full application of Annex X in the Staff Regulations.
Access to the Contractual Agent category Thanks to action taken by R&D-Alliance, the conditions for recruitment have been clarified and made more transparent. And thanks to R&D, which successfully negotiated the right for CAs at headquarters to take their tests a second time, CAs in RELEX have also been able to take their ESPO tests twice. Some people predicted “social mayhem”, but in the event, the overwhelming majority of CAs passed their tests and secured open-ended contracts with the Institution as soon as the third-language criterion was met.
Career Nothing has yet been negotiated in terms of career (e.g. length of contract, rotation, sensitivity of jobs, definition of tasks, and the possibility of moving from one category to another). The framework will be negotiated by the trade unions and DG ADMIN. R&D and ALTERNANCE 2009-2012 is a coalition that covers 70% of Commission staff.
Living Conditions of Contractual Agents/Officials The differences between the conditions that apply to Officials and to CAs is unjustified. Such discrimination is simply unacceptable. Our demands include a call for an accommodation allowance incorporated into the framework of a housing policy.
• To define an objective, clear, transparent system of rotation following ex-ante consultation with the Central Staff Committee. R&D – ALTERNANCE 2009-2012 calls for a staff representative to sit on the External Service’s Steering Committee.
The current rotation system must be more transparent and involve staff representatives more.
• The management of contracts, annual journeys, school fees and other individual rights should be handed over to the PMO so as to free up RELEX K’s administrative resources and ensure consistency irrespective of the place of employment.
Deadlines in matters including procedures, in the establishment of rights and in making payments. The PMO was set up to handle these matters and should manage all these contractual issues so that they are applied consistently and in order to free up RELEX K’s resources and concentrate on social policy and the management of Outside-the-Union staff.