Author: KUMAR Sunil Co-author: THAKKAR Sumeet Editor: CONEFREY Helen
EN USHU is proud to inform you that in 2022, 137 Local agents will have completed 20 years of service in the European Union. Congratulations to each of them!
It was a similar situation last year so it is clear that there is a large cohort of Local Agents in third countries, who have served the European Union for several decades and genuinely deserve to obtain the best possible working conditions. Hundreds of Local Agents will have spent a large part of their professional lives at the service of the European Union so we owe it to them to ensure that their working conditions do not deteriorate over time and that there are no unnecessary barriers which prevent them from accessing modern working arrangements.
In many places of work, the purchasing power of the Local Agents has diminished considerably. With soaring inflation in 2022, partly due to the ongoing geopolitical issues in the world, ever-increasing prices for even the most basic goods are putting pressure on LA livelihoods and their families.
Following the introduction of the new Method for Salary Adjustments in 2014, more or less 35 - 40 Delegations every year receive either no salary increase or no appreciable increase. Some colleagues have not received any increase ever since 2014 …effectively under the new rules, many LA salaries have stagnated and in limited places of work, LAs have benefitted from only a marginal increase to their salaries in 2020/ 2021.
Despite the many stagnated salaries, the EEAS has nevertheless decided to put the LA salary revisions on hold… many EU DEL have indeed completed their salary reviews but payments have been either delayed or suspended.
Both Local Agents and expatriates alike, are impacted by increasing prices for food and energy therefore we must ensure that LAs receive salary adjustments in a timely manner to offset price rises just as for expatriates. USHU believes that all EU DEL staff stand in solidarity with Local Agents in EU Delegations who face the same problems and need financial certainty in order to face rising living costs!
As if the above were not enough, it is worrying to note that the LA Provident Fund (contributions are deducted from LA salaries) continues to register a negative interest rate. This is evidently a major concern for all LAs. It seems the EEAS/COM has no clear plans on what alternative steps to consider to stop the erosion of the fund!
Can you imagine a situation where LAs who retire might over the next few months, will receive even less than what they actually deposited into the fund? It is also manifestly unfair that a Provident Fund formed comprising equal contributions from LAs, is managed unilaterally by the employer with no Local Agent representation.
USHU urges the EEAS and the Commission to address the above issues and makes the following proposals for remedial measures :
o Funds should be immediately made available as a priority, to pay LA salary arrears, emoluments due
o An interim salary revision should be activated to assist LAs in addition to consideration of a fuel allowance to tackle rising energy prices
o Ensure accountability with LA staff representatives on the management committee of the LA Provident Fund.
o Ensure reasonable protection of the capital deposited by LAs in the Provident Fund
USHU remains at the disposal of staff and management to find ways of improving the working conditions of all staff categories.
Meet your EEAS USHU team: Contact us whenever you need support!
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