Union Syndicale Council : Negotiating the “new normal”
A trust-based new social deal
We face profound changes in our working environment. The pandemic has triggered the start of the fourth industrial revolution, affecting us all.
The Council needs to lead the European response to an ever more complex and inter-connected set of challenges, in a context of globalisation and technological change. We need to master the art of cooperation to manage change, connect better with stakeholders and citizens and enhance trust. Technology brings with it increased flexibility and this has an impact on values and expectations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a rapid change in the way we work. We should learn from and build on this experience. Union Syndicale and the FFPE intend to be at the forefront in this work. Such change will make some established rules obsolete, so we will need to negotiate a new deal: a new social agreement with a new set of rules to protect staff interests. Our administration and staff need to work in a spirit of genuine social dialogue to safeguard our most precious asset: staff commitment and motivation.
The post-COVID GSC will look different. Our working tools and methods, management model and work-life balance are likely to undergo profound changes. Social cohesion may also be a challenge.
The following changes seem necessary and will need to be negotiated:
- more flexible structures and task/project-based working should increasingly replace
outdated, top-down hierarchical structures;
- staff must enjoy a healthy work-life balance supported by a caring management that
prioritises health and protects against overwork and burnout;
- there is a need for improved social cohesion, team-building and communication to
promote collaboration and a real esprit de corps;
- management should focus on staff development, job satisfaction and the individual
strengths that people bring to their team;
- staff can deliver high-quality work from anywhere, so increased remote working should be
an option. However the boundaries between professional activities and private life will
need to be redefined and management will need to show the same trust, empowerment
and flexibility as it has during the pandemic;
- our new ways of working can become greener, as increased digitalisation can help reduce
- some new offices will be designed with collaborative spaces. This can, however,
compromise privacy and personal space that may be needed by some colleagues for
certain tasks requiring silence and concentration. Such concerns will therefore need to be
taken into account: the current set-up in the LEX building seems broadly acceptable,
however the JL building will need re-designing to include sufficient single-user offices and
- there are likely to be fewer missions (again reducing travel).