EU Agency Staff Mobilise for Improved Working Conditions and Fair Treatment
In a remarkable display of solidarity, hundreds of union members, and executive agency staff, alongside union representatives, gathered in front of the Berlaymont Building on midday 6th of June 2023, to advocate for improved working conditions and fair treatment. The mobilisation united voices from various agencies, including USB President, Niels Bracke and USB Agency Section representative, Valerie Bour, highlighting the urgent need for action and change within the executive agencies.
The mobilisation, organised by the Common Front and supported by various unions, highlighted the deteriorating state of affairs for staff in executive agencies across the European Union. One of the primary issues addressed was the concerning decline in working conditions experienced by agency staff over the years. Increasing workloads coupled with limited career development opportunities and job security have created a challenging environment for these dedicated professionals. The staff members called for an end to these discriminatory practices, asserting that they do not uphold the principles that govern the European civil service.
Despite previous efforts, little progress has been made in addressing these concerns. The absence of genuine social dialogue and the lack of meaningful solutions have frustrated agency staff. The forced relocation of personnel to the North Light building, accompanied by the imposition of Flex desking against staff’s wishes, further exacerbated the situation. Financial opacity and a lack of preparedness by the agencies have also been major points of contention. Additionally, ongoing restructuring processes, such as the reduction of staff in EISMEA, have created further anxieties among employees.
To demonstrate their solidarity and demand respect and dignity for agency staff, the mobilization called for the active participation of all employees.
During the demonstration, various concerns were raised, including the compression rate in future premises and its implications on workspace availability, especially considering the obligation for staff to be present in the office twice a week. The impact of dynamic office settings on staff health and the need for regular monitoring was also emphasized. Furthermore, the lack of financial compensation for teleworking and stricter regulations for teleworking from abroad were conveyed with a call for greater flexibility and balance between professional and personal life.
Other pressing issues highlighted during the mobilisation included the allocation of staff committee time and resources, transparency in budget allocation, and the need for effective representation of staff interests.
Among the prominent voices was USB President, Niels Bracke, who passionately voiced critical issues affecting agency staff, urging the establishment of a comprehensive framework that respects the needs of employees.
The appeal from USB President shed light on the pressing concerns shared by agency staff, highlighting the need for immediate action to address these issues.
In addition to these concerns, Valerie Bour, elected member of Agency Section representing the USB Agency section, acknowledged the challenges faced by EU Agencies due to resource strains and inadequate staff representation. Ms Bour also resounds our recent Congres resolution to facilitate social dialogue between the unions and agency administrations to address these concerns effectively.
Ms Bour highlighted the main concerns of the USB Agencies section such as the importance of fair management practices, career advancement, mobility, job security, transparent budget allocation, and employee well-being. Additionally, fair salary adjustments, comprehensive health services, childcare facilities or support, and financial assistance for international education were deemed essential for regulatory agencies.
The demonstration served as a testament to the unity and determination of the agency workforce, emphasizing the importance of solidarity and collective efforts in achieving better working conditions and fair treatment.