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USHU Activity Report 2022

USHU over the years:

From its beginning in 2008, USHU has aimed to strengthen its comparative advantage when it comes to the issues that impact on staff serving in EU DEL and at EEAS HQ. Unlike staff associations representing staff based permanently at places of work in the EU, USHU serves a broader range of staff categories (Local Agents, Contract Agents, Temporary Agents and Officials) serving both permanently and temporarily in EU DEL and EEAS HQ.

Fast forward to 2022 and USHU has consolidated a recognised niche in representing and protecting the interests and professional opportunities of all staff categories serving in EU Delegations ( Commission and EEAS) in over 140 different places of work outside the EU and at HQ ( EEAS and Commission staff dealing with external policy issues).

Over the past 14 years, USHU has acquired enviable expertise in the complex and distinct working conditions of each staff category and of the types of problems that they face on a regular basis in a hugely varied set of third-country contexts where USHU’s intervention is required.

USHU operates on several levels. It provides practical advice and assesses individual cases in order to tailor the solution to the staff member. It provides support to staff members in the preparation of review requests and complaints (Art 90) and where necessary, refers staff members for specific legal advice.

USHU aims to work both autonomously as an organisation that prides itself on knowing its members well and in full coordination with other staff associations and trade unions in order to harness as much leverage as possible for issues that affect staff serving in EU DEL and at HQ EEAS.

Our active participation in social dialogue meetings both with Commission and EEAS managers that range from information sessions to fully-fledged negotiations, has meant that we strive continuously to find the best possible solutions and options for staff, with full knowledge of the challenges and obstacles that they face in non-EU places of work.

USHU has guaranteed its representativeness through its political alliance with it partner organisation, U4U and now represents the 4th leading OSP association with 14.19% having maintained its position for over a decade. USHU thanks all its active members who volunteer their time and expertise to support staff and find solutions both collectively and individually.


Work-Life balance

• Promotion of a modern workplace in EU DEL with the formal introduction of telework and hybrid work arrangements

• Full recognition of a minimum period of telework from abroad per annum for EU DEL staff ( at least 10 working days with exceptions to increase according to individual situations )

• Ensure flextime and remote work are compatible and recuperation is fully recognized

• Ensure all staff categories have access to flexible work arrangements including Local Agents who are often overlooked.

• Encourage more information on training on psychosocial and socio-emotional issues related to well-being and the avoidance of burn-out

• Zero tolerance of harassment in the workplace

• Coaching for staff and in particular line managers who need to improve their inter­personal skills and create inclusive and productive work environments where everyone belongs

• Increased measures for families to ensure EU DEL remain attractive places to work with more support on arrival in an EU DEL

Contract agents

• Introduction of an authentic career development path which includes CAs access to Temporary Agent posts and posts of officials

• Increase the frequency of internal competitions for posts of Officials. Greater focus on the talent screener and less emphasis on eliminatory CBT tests.More emphasis on knowledge and experience.

• Increased access to training and learning opportunities through more distance courses and guaranteed opportunities for in-person training sessions

• Optimise annual appraisals such that they represent a true reflection point and motivate CAs to do better.

• Acceleration of the reclassification process with reduced years in a given Function Group Grade. Appraisal cannot be a formality rather a value added process whereby high performing staff will be rewarded faster careers.

• Continued improvements to the annual mobility exercise with regular revisions

• Request for inter-institutional mobility (COMM/EEAS/Agencies) to offer a broader range of posts and opportunities to CAs

Local Agents

• Close monitoring of the impact of the new Salary Method, which came into force in 2014. USHU advocates for a system that ensures increases for a wider range of staff and avoids the current pay freezes

• Improve cover for LAs from the CSISLA /complementary sickness and insurance scheme

• Reinstate reclassification for Local Agents who have been regularly carrying out tasks beyond their grade for a number of years with no institutional recognition.

• Obligation to have a crisis preparedness plan that provides greater protection of LAs during crises (natural/political) where they find themselves in potentially life­threatening situations.


• Better preparation for taking up duty in EU DEL for the first time

• More access to management training and coaching opportunities to enable them to perform at their best and promote a healthy working environment

• Better re-insertion processes at HQ with tasks commensurate with responsibilities held in EU DEL on return to headquarters in Brussels

• More transparent and accountable annual rotation exercises with feedback to colleagues where requested

• Full application of promotion quotas for Officials in a timely manner

USHU RESULTS (non-exhaustive list):

• Advice to members: USHU assessed and represented individual staff members and managed to avoid dismissals and non-renewals for Local Agents and Contract Agents.

• Negotiation of LA Salary Method : USHU was a major negotiator for the new LA salary method and instrumental in ensuring more advantageous comparators were maintained for the benefit of LA staff. It follows closely its implementation, is a member of the technical group on LA remuneration, and participates in annual meetings to assess salary adjustments.

• Active participation in Joint Committees: USHU has secured members on critical Joint Committees in order to ensure its members and all staff are better represented in critical discussions with management. It has members on all three Local Agent Inter-institutional EEAS/COM committees for promotions, the complementary sickness scheme contract termination provisions. It also has members on the Commission Joint Committee for CA3a reclassification together with a range of committees and working groups on topics including Living Conditions Allowance, Rest Leave and so on.

• Adoption of the first ever CA Mobility Decision in 2014 (C(2014) 3296 final). USHU was the principal force in encouraging the professionalization of CAs through institutional mobility which allows more opportunities for career development.

• Revised CA Decisions of 2016 (C(2016) 5378 final) and 2018 (C(2018) 4765 final). USHU was instrumental in negotiations with management to improve and refine the original Decision based on lessons learned and was instrumental in the adoption of improved subsequent versions leading to greater clarity over derogations applicable in relation to personal and professional reasons, in reducing the normal period in a duty station for higher hardship countries and in removing any grey areas in the Decision that hamper its implementation.

• CA elegibility for ad hoc Vacancies approved in February 2020 C(2020) 997 final: USHU argued hard to allow Contract Agents to apply for posts after 3 years of service (previously 4) to ensure a fair approach and equal opportunities

• USHU also engages regularly with CAs participating in the annual mobility exercise, providing support and targeted advice to colleagues to ensure they understand the process and are able to find suitable future postings, which represent a win-win situation for the individual and the institutions involved.

• Extended recyclage provisions for expatriates: USHU has been instrumental in convincing management to offer better conditions and extend “recyclage” to cover all secondary education and beyond the existing final two years of secondary education.

• Social Dialogue meetings with Commission and EEAS Managers : USHU engages regularly and participated in all major negotiations that impact on EU DEL staff

• Promote training and life-long learning for all staff

• New Human Resources Strategy and modern working methods: USHU has promoted discussions concerning modernisation of the workplace including flexitime and hybrid work schemes including telework. This new way of working should be accessible to all staff categories in EU DEL and HQ.


Local Section representing colleagues serving in places of work outside the EU – CLP HU Local Section of the

Central Staff Committee

USHU launched a successful CLP HU election campaign in November 2021 with 28 candidates represented on List 3.

USHU’s message resounded well with all staff categories in EU DEL and we managed to improve USHU’s presence on the critical CLP HU with the election of 16 of our candidates from all staff categories ( LA/CA/AST/AD). A total of 8 FULL and 8 ALTERNATE USHU candidates from List 3 were elected to the CLP HU.

Social Dialogue Participation:

USHU has actively participated in all Social Dialogue instances and has provided extensive input and written comments on a range of topics affecting colleagues in EU Delegations including more recently :

• Working Time Decisions for EU DEL and HQ

• CA Mobility Decision – revision clause

• LA Salary Revision Method

• Home Leave Decision

• Recyclage Decision for staff temporarily assigned to HQ

• COM Decision on hybrid working for colleagues at HQ

• Draft Decision on Working Time and Flexible working arrangement for expatriates in EU DEL

• Draft Decision on the prevention of harassment for Local Agents serving in EU DEL

• Regular meetings with other Trade Unions on a range of staff issues

• Regular participation of USHU members in Central Staff Committee discussions

• USHU representation in meetings with the Commissioner for Budget and Administration

• USHU representation in information meetings with DG HR on human resources policy

USHU Enhanced Membership campaign and new USHU Website 2021/22

In April 2021, USHU proudly launched it new website:

This new website is more user-friendly and offers an overview of USHU objectives and activities including how to engage with Executive Bureau members and other active USHU Ambassadors. The new website also offers a broad range of payment modalities including a direct online debit system and the possibility for multi-annual memberships for the first time.

The new website has been widely praised and well received by members and non-members alike. In 2022 USHU will aim to further enhance its visibility and communication with members and provide unique access to a range of options for existing and new members.

Together with the USHU website that serves as a one-stop shop for all information on our activities and how to contact our members, USHU has reinforced its presence on social media including twitter, facebook, linkedin, CA discourse group and more.

In addition to the dedicated USHU website, there are regular USHU Newsletters and Flash notes to staff on all important human resources issue that impact on their professional lives and their general well-being.

USHU has managed to increase its resources linked to its paid members and accepts associated non-paying members in its aim to remain as inclusive as possible.

USHU hopes to extend the range of services it can provide to members including:

• Personalised advice, guidance and follow up for its members on HR related topics

• Online payments

• Online queries for replies by USHU experts

• Access to USHU experts in specific HR fields

• Access to legal consultations and advice

• Access to training opportunities at discounted rates

• Extended services for all staff categories with an emphasis on professional development and well-being

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