Become a Union Syndicale member

Union Syndicale represents all staff working for the European Public Service (EPS), regardless of nationality, creed, political views, grade or status. Founded in 1973, today Union Syndicale is the most representative of all the trade unions present in the European institutions and in international organisations. Union Syndicale’s main interlocutors are the European institutions, in particular the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament in their roles as legislators and budgetary authorities, along with the Commission, which ensures the application of the Treaties and has the fundamental power of proposal.

To join, see the page Membership.
For more info, do not hesitate to contact our secretariat:

A union involved in supranational grievances and demands

Union Syndicale Brussels and Union Syndicale – European Parliament are members of the Union Syndicale Fédérale of European and international public services of which the Union Syndicales of different community workplaces and international institutions in Europe such as Eurocontrol, the Patent Office, the European Central Bank or the Council of Europe are members. Union Syndicale Fédérale, itself a member of the Public Service international and the European Federation of Public Service Unions is thus part of the great European family of unions within the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).

A Union with a history of respect and credibility

Union Syndicale seeks to establish constructive dialogue and pursues realistic objectives with commitment and determination, on the basis of policy papers presenting union demands that have been democratically determined by its members. In negotiations, it ensures that its representatives are better prepared and more competent than its administrative and political counterparts and than the representatives of other trade unions. If, despite its best efforts, dialogue fails, Union Syndicale mobilises its staff with resolve in order to re-establish the dynamics required for proper negotiations to resume.

Over its long history, Union Syndicale has gained :

  • the right under Staff Regulations to belong to a trade union or professional organisation ;
  • recognition under Staff Regulations of the right of unions to make agreements on behalf of staff, to negotiate disputes on their behalf and, where necessary, to organise strike action ;
  • the adoption and successive renewal – in 1972, 1976, 1981, 1991, 2004 and 2014 – of the Method for adjusting officials’ salaries and pensions ; from 1991 to 2009, salaries have risen by 50% without dispute.

Unfortunately, for 2011 and 2012 after a ruling by the Court of Justice, the Council and the Parliament granted only 0% and 0.8% respectively instead of the 1.7% salary adaptation. Union Syndicale continues by all the legal means possible to demand that the Method be respected for those years.

Defending the Staff Regulations

Member States have wanted to reduce our pay and working conditions for many years – for budgetary, ideological and most often populist reasons. A few years prior to the May 2004 enlargement to ten and then twelve new Member States, they demanded that this should be done at the least possible cost which meant that the Commission was forced to propose changes to the Staff Regulations. Union Syndicale rejected this diktat from the Commission and Member States and, thanks to staff mobilisation, we forced the Commission to negotiate to ensure that the reform of Staff Regulations did not become a dismantling of the Regulations. The other trade unions refused to take responsibility, adopting an empty-chair policy and opting instead for attack, demagogy and empty rhetoric instead of defending staff interests. However, recognising that reform was inevitable and that the results of the negotiations conducted by Union Syndicale safeguarded the fundamental rights of European Public Service, in particular its independence, competence and permanent nature, the other trade unions finally signed and approved the final package agreement.

The Commission proposed a new reform of the Staff Regulations in 2011 in the context of the 2014-2020 multi-annual financial framework negotiations. The aim of this was to address the demands of the Member States. Union Syndicale once more led the way in the fight to preserve our Staff Regulations and the working conditions of all staff working in the European Union public service. This was the first time the reform needed to be adopted through co-decision. Unfortunately, the extremely radical positions of certain Member States, the weakness of the Commission in defending the staff and the need to satisfy various political groups in the European Parliament produced a result which is far from satisfactory. The lack of fighting spirit of the other unions, who naively preferred to rely on the Commission and the Parliament to influence the Council, also contributed to the result. The impact on the staff’s working conditions is far from negligible : transition to a 40 hour week without any compensation, a two year salary freeze, the creation of a new sub-category of staff (AST/SC) with significantly worse pay conditions and career prospects, an increase in the retirement age, a reduction in pension rights, the blocking of careers, … The only positive, yet extremely important, point is the new method for the annual adjustment of salaries and pensions, which becomes fully automatic – also in the event of any serious economic crisis. This will ensure that certain Member States will not, for populist reasons, deny European Union civil servants the salary adjustments that they give their own civil servants, as was the case in 2009, 2011 and 2012. In 2015, the new Method has been applied for the first time, and gave + 2,4% of the net salaries for all staff.

Union Syndicale helps its members

  • Union Syndicale has experts who can explain the system, and ensure that its members benefit from the Staff Regulations and the rules in force in each institution.
  • Union Syndicale is there to help those of its members who experience problems, to guide them and represent them in their dealings with the administration if necessary and preserving their anonymity if they prefer.
  • Union Syndicale can help its members with official applications and the lodging of complaints or appeals under Staff Regulations.
  • Union Syndicale helps its members ensure that they receive full credit for their professional capacities. Union Syndicale representatives on promotion committees do, however, act impartially in providing assistance and support to all those eligible for promotion, whether or not they are union members.