The new human resources strategy (A New Human Resources Strategy for the Commission C (2022) 2229 – 05/04/2022) included various promises for our temporary staff, including opening up to internal competitions as well as the Junior Professional Programme, more extensive use of temporary staff, a graduation system and access to higher responsibility posts.

More than a year later in June this year, our administration finally proposed a decision (attached) and started the corresponding consultation covering most of the points set out above. This consultation with all the representative trade unions benefited from 6 meetings and we are waiting for further actions. It should also be recalled that a previous proposal for a TA decision was presented in 2019 but was unsuccessful.

The text presented and discussed so far:

  • covers only TA types a, b and d. As regards the External Action Service (type e), a decision proposal was also presented in consultation in June;
  • includes, as planned, a grading grid for temporary staff considering previous work experience. This was missing and requested by trade unions. However, in line with many other rules set out in the document, it is accompanied by an exception clause allowing for a lot of generosity (ranking higher than the graduation grid);
  • explicitly provides for temporary staff to have access to (or, rather, the use of TA contracts for) management functions, again with exceptions and other generosity. This reminds us of the COPERNIC reform of the Belgian federal civil service, which had, in its time, privatised the positions of their top managers, who are still mainly temporary employees;
  • is exempt from any even indirect involvement of staff representatives. We have, of course, expressed various control solutions, in particular through the Joint Committee (COPAR), which covers, for example, competitions;
  • does not provide sufficient guarantees on the continuity of TA’s contracts and acquired rights.

The consultation so far has shown a number of positive points from the above-mentioned, graduation grid, mobility of TA staff as well as the announcement that all TA job offers will be made available transparently on a single platform (also referred to in the HR strategy). However, it does not fully meet expectations and above all bring fears of further nepotism. This decision, as it stands, allows the Institution to employ who it wants, at the grade and function it wants; typically as it has been implemented during the crisis for profiles allegedly unavailable internally and/or immediately needed. Let us also recall the recent Morton case. Soon, we will have Elon Musk as Commissioner

Our administration reassured us by reminding us that it has long held, and intends to keep, a centralised control of TA employment. It though forgets that this is the case today because of a delegation from the College which could be amended at any time.

Last but not least, in recent years the Commission has engaged around 500 officials per year for 1800 temporary or contract staff. The use/proportion of TA was limited by regulation in the past. The HR strategy envisaged a variation (increase) of this proportion. On our insistence to clarify this point, the administration asked us, we trade unions, to come with a proposal; rather funny in fact.

Union Syndicale Federal’s demands at this stage are clear:

  • This legal text must become clearer and avoid derogations as far as possible.
  • In particular, it must be much more restrictive/sane on the use of TA contracts for management functions.
  • It must guarantee the acquired rights of TAs and continuity of their contract in the event of mobility.
  • Staff representation must be involved in one way or another in the process of employment and monitoring of implementation in order to avoid and/or correct possible abuses. In particular:
  • The text should provide for the many derogations to be subject to some form of “control”.

We are currently awaiting a revised text and a new date for consultation and will inform you.