2013 Budget and staff cuts

On 25 April 2012, the College is scheduled to adopt its proposal on the 2013 Budget and send this to the Parliament and Council for decision.

Despite no agreement being reached on the Commission's proposal to reform our Staff Regulations, the Commission seems determined to go ahead with staff cuts. The proposal foresees 5% staff reduction in each institution. The Commission is preparing for these to begin in 2013, at the rate of 1% per year, and continue for a period of 5 years.

These headcount cuts will not be spread equally - some groups will suffer more than others.

How will the 5% cut be made?

For officials, DG BUDG appears to be assuming that DGs will cut only AST posts "…the 2013 job quotas of all Commission services will by default be reduced by of 1% (in principle AST) posts …". Furthermore, the Commission reserves the right to make additional adjustments to the ratio of ADs to ASTs: " … the Commission may request an upgrading of its establishment plans, i.e. an increase in AD posts offset by a lower number of AST posts."

For contract agents, apparently the reductions will be made simply by way of a "nominal freeze" at the 2012 budget level of the overall amount of financing. In this context, how does the Commission foresee respecting the career progression (reclassification rates) for contract agents without a substantial headcount cut? And how will salary indexation be paid to contract agents as from next year?

For those of you around in 2008, this may evoke memories of the so-called "Madelin Report" on reforming the European Public Service

Coincidentally, that report called for : 

• reduction in the number of AST staff

• shift towards greater relative use of contract staff at AST level

Finally, in addition to the above cuts, a new reduction has been introduced, the so-called Šefčovič tax. This foresees that DGs give a further 1% of their staff to a central pool from which staff will be assigned to work in areas of political priority. Would this also mainly, or only, affect AST staff?

These measures clearly show that the targets of the next Reform are the most vulnerable part of staff: AST (mainly women) and contract agents.

Also the European Parliament believes that the Commission proposal, which mainly tries to make savings to the detriment of staff in low grades, is problematic in terms of social justice.

TAO-AFI calls on the Commission to make clear just how all these changes will affect staff and to negotiate this plan with the unions.