EU - Do Agents for Conference Interpreting (ACI) have the right to strike?
November 2012 - It has been an eventful fortnight in the EU sector, with lots of twists and turns. Your AIIC delegations review developments on the right to strike in the EU institutions.
- Last updated:
6 November: You may have read the statements by SCIC management in an information note posted on 6 November 2012, saying that ACIs were precluded from striking in support of the one-day strike called for 8 November.
12 November: having seen that a new strike call was issued for Friday of that week, we wrote to SCIC management, putting the Director General in copy, asking them to explain the position taken by the service. We also contacted some of the trade unions and staff associations (commonly referred to as OSP, Organisations Syndicales et Professionnelles) which had issued the strike call, to seek their support. The Friday strike was eventually called off.
13 November: we posted a comment on the SCICnet forum created for the information note about the strike, in which we outlined our view of the matter.
We said that the strike call had been issued to all personnel, that when under contract to the EU institutions ACIs are covered by the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants, and that the individual ACIs are of course perfectly free to decide for themselves whether to strike or not.
19 November: SCIC management posted a second note informing SCIC personnel, without distinguishing between staff and ACI, about the arrangements regarding another strike, called this time by all Commission trade unions and staff associations, for the afternoon of 21 November. And on the forum created for this second note, SCIC management finally conceded that our position was correct.
Getting informed about the reasons for the strike action
It was on 12 November that we first informed colleagues they could find background information on the OSPs' websites. We realise the search may be difficult, if starting from scratch, and that an ACI not resident in a seat of an EU institution has little or no contact with the largely Brussels-based OSPs. To launch your search, you will find a host of information and links to the OSPs' websites on www.weuropa.eu.
Mutual support and solidarity
With regard to mutual support between the different categories of personnel working for the Commission, and particularly the SCIC, a staff colleague contributing to the SCICnet forum recalled that many years ago SCIC staff colleagues were very grateful to ACI colleagues who joined them in a strike to improve working conditions. Years later, SCIC colleagues reciprocated by joining ACIs in our battle to clarify our status when working for the EU institutions.
Pay docked if on strike
Mr. Baker of SCIC has explained on the above-mentioned forum that ACI who went on strike on 21 November in support of the general half-day strike call will be treated like staff, and be paid half their daily remuneration.
Your delegations will of course continue to monitor developments and keep you informed.