EU - Report from the EU Negotiating Delegation, November 2012
On 6 November 2012 the delegations (Negotiating Delegation and Professional Delegations at Commission and EP) held an information meeting for ACI in Brussels, and reported on the items below
- Last updated:
1. Mandatory sickness and accident policy
Following talks with insurance broker Van Breda which wanted to withdraw from the contract one year before expiry, the Commission has now reached agreement with them to continue to provide cover for the remaining year (1 March 2013 to 28 February 2014) with a premium increase from 1.98% to 2.697% (for the ACI a contribution increase from €3.62 to €4.93), and with some changes in the terms on compensation to be paid in the event of:
- death of an ACI
- permanent total invalidity following illness
- permanent partial invalidity following illness
and changes also to
- definitions of total invalidity and total incapacity
- the transition from temporary incapacity to permanent invalidity.
You will be informed via a note on the websites of the institutions and a new call for tender will be issued for cover after 28 February 2014.
SCIC consulted your delegation, took our points on board and kept us informed throughout the process.
2. Calls to tender for interpreting services
As reported in October, the Negotiating Delegation (ND) intends to continue pursuing the question of outsourcing by Commission DGs, arguing that it is important to address the issue if professional standards and quality are to be maintained.
3. Communicating with Agents for Conference Interpreting (ACI)
The delegations realise that the mailing list held by AIIC for our messages to ACI has gaps and becomes out-of-date as people fail to update their details when changing email addresses. We have been asking the Administration whether it could help by providing us with a list of e-mail addresses for all ACI colleagues, having informed them and provided an opportunity to opt out, as it did when sharing its common list (ACIs’ names, language combinations, professional domicile and contact details) with other international organisations which use interpreters. The Administration has continually refused, citing data protection grounds. We have been working on an alternative solution. You should be hearing from us shortly about this.
a) Long term: the professional delegations (PD) at both the EP and the Commission will shortly be having meetings with the administrations in their respective institutions to take stock of the outcome of the recently completed long-term exercises for 2013. If you have questions, comments or complaints please send them to the PD in the appropriate institution.
b) QUICK calendar
You may have seen the recent notice posted on SCICnet about forthcoming changes to the web calendar. Notwithstanding these changes, the delegations are planning to consult colleagues on their experience with the Quick calendar (last-minute recruitment) used by SCIC. We can not provide details yet; progress on the matter under 3 above will determine how we proceed.
c) Access to web calendar via mobile devices
Your delegations have for some time been requesting access to the web calendar function via mobile devices and the Administration eventually agreed to look into it. The notice referred to in section 4 b) above also announced that such access should become available towards the middle of next year.
5. Guidelines for inter-institutional tests
To economise on resources devoted to accreditation tests the interpreting services of the recruiting institutions are running a pilot programme involving various new features for the tests. One new feature is that candidates are tested in only two of their C languages, even if the preferential profile for candidates in that booth requires three C languages. Successful candidates would then be temporarily accredited and given an opportunity to add the third C language within 12 months, possibly extended to 24 months, with accreditation lapsing if they fail the language-adding test. On enquiry, it emerged that SCIC’s intention was that such candidates could be recruited before passing the language-adding test. Your delegations raised their concerns with the Administrations, arguing inter alia that this new system created a new category of ACI with no basis in our Agreement, created legal uncertainty, and would be manifestly unfair. The one-year pilot programme is to continue and will then be reviewed.
6. Strike action on 8 November
The delegations have written to Mr. Baker of SCIC, with the trade unions who called the strike in copy, expressing surprise at and seeking further explanation of his statement in the notice published on SCICnet on 6 November that ACI do not have the right to strike. The delegations take the view that the strike call was addressed to all personnel, and that when under contract to an Institution we are personnel, and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants (CEOS) section of the Staff Regulations apply to us. Each ACI is of course free to decide whether or not to support the strike action. In the past, when industrial action has been taken the different categories of personnel have shown one another mutual support. Details of the reasons for the strike, which may be repeated, can be found on the websites of the trade unions and professional organisations (known as OSP). SCIC is now consulting other Commission departments on the matter.