25th Sep 2020

Staff unions annoyed by Kinnock

Unions representing EU civil servants say that the Commission snubbed them during the last phase of the negotiations over the controversial pension reform.

EU foreign affairs ministers and administrative reform Commissioner Neil Kinnock agreed yesterday, 19 May, on the reform of staff regulations. But unions say that these negotiations were done behind their back.

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  • Unions say NEIL KINNOCK, administrative reform commissioner, negotiated with the EU member states behind their backs (Photo: European Commission)

"There was an agreement between the unions and the Commission to negotiate every step but all of a sudden Kinnock started negotiating with the EU member states without giving us information about what was going on. Yesterday's document came out of the blue," a representative from Union Syndicale told EUobserver.

Most of the EU civil servants obeyed directives by the unions to strike today, despite what appeared to be a threat from Mr Kinnock yesterday.

"I do hope that the members of the public service make mature reflections whether they decide to go to work or not," he said.

Despite Monday's political agreement, the Unions are still determined to bring out the best deal from the reform package, particularly the issue regarding pension reforms.

The new rules say that the staff retiring age should be raised from 60 to 63 from May 2004.

The monthly salary contributions to the pension fund will also decrease from 2 to 1.9 per cent each year, making it harder for officials of the European Union to reach the maximum level of pension.

This morning the Unions held a meeting with President of the Commission Romano Prodi, where they explained their concerns, EUobserver has learnt.

Another urgent meeting was held this afternoon with representatives from the cabinet of Commissioner Kinnock and President Prodi.

"The negotiations will be very tight but there is still some scope for changes in the reforms," Union Syndicale said.

The European Parliament will give its opinion on the reform of the staff regulation around June, followed by meetings between the Council and union representatives.

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