Scientific and technical results that we can be proud of

On Monday 4 July the Director-General gave his Mid-Term address to staff covering the first 912 days of him and his Team in charge of CERN. Scientific success was there with an LHC going from record to record, antihydrogen atoms on the front page of newspapers around the world, and a rich and varied complementary scientific programme. CERN has proved once again that it is a centre of scientific and technological excellence. The Organization also plays a leading role in the education and training of students and young researchers and is a pioneer in open access for the dissemination of knowledge throughout the world. We at CERN can be proud of our participation in this great adventure.

Even with a gloomy economic climate in most of our Member States our social protection system — pensions and health insurance — was consolidated. Moreover, the 2012 budget and the Medium-Term plan up to 2016 were approved, with difficulty, by Council on 23 June.

But things are not quite so good underneath the surface

Many of you took part in our referendum (1167 out of 1221 Staff Members who voted and 99 out of 109 Fellows who voted, supported the position of the Staff Association), and took part in our demonstration of 22 June (well over 700 participants signed the Staff Association resolution and 373 Staff Members declared that they stopped work that morning). Once again we thank you for your support over the last few weeks.

Despite all our efforts Council, in its June session, substantially degraded the conditions for future members and beneficiaries of the Pension Fund. We can only regret the harshness of the measures taken. We must continue to work together, you and your Association, so that employment conditions can evolve in the right direction.

The Organization must be able to recruit, retain, and motivate specialists of the highest competence coming from all Member States. This is only possible if CERN is also a centre of excellence in the social domain. There is a long way to go!

Building for the future

Now that CERN Council has decided to put in place new rules for future members of the Pension Fund, we must do everything possible to limit the negative consequences. In particular the Governing Board of the Pension Fund must evaluate the effect of the increase in life expectancy in the actuarial estimates for members of the Fund recruited after 1 January 2012 and, if necessary, request an increase in the contributions which have been reduced from 34% to 28.33%. Then, Council will have to face up to its responsabilities and show its true engagement by absorbing this increase in the measures towards restoring full funding of the Pension Fund on a horizon of 30 years.

For future colleagues the legal retirement age has increased from 65 to 67 and the annual accumulation rate decreased from 2% to 1.85% of the reference salary. In this context it is necessary to put in place a voluntary programme which is flexible enough to take into account long careers (staff arriving at CERN before the age of 30 and who would like to stop work before the age of 67) and short careers (those arriving at CERN after the age of 30 and who would like to buy in extra years so that they can receive a decent pension at the age of 67). As mentioned in the Human Resources Department public meeting on 5 July, the Management and the Staff Association will soon start discussions on this matter.

Last minute

After the meeting of the Standing Concertation Committee (SCC) on Wednesday 6 July, the Director-General decided that the 373 staff who declared having participated in the concerted work stoppage from 8:30 until 12:30 on 22 June will have a deduction of their salary / stipend for the equivalent of the hours not worked. At the request of the Staff Association the money thus collected will be paid to the CERN Pension Fund.


by Staff Association