Public meetings: Thank you for your interest

Several hundreds of you took part in our recent information meetings1. We very much appreciate these times when we get together and, by listening to your questions and comments, can have a better idea of your concerns.

You were particularly interested in the changes to the rules of the health insurance. Indeed, as a complement to the information given by Philippe Charpentier at the meeting organized by HR on Friday 23rd September, we showed you how a well-functioning concertation process has enabled our mutual health insurance system to evolve by modernizing it and making it fairer, while keeping the same excellent benefits. Do not hesitate to contact your departmental delegates if you have further questions concerning the health insurance, they will do all they can to inform you.

As far as our merit-based advancement scheme, MARS, is concerned, we are far from convinced that this is the best system, one that truly corresponds to the needs of CERN, an organization of scientific and technical excellence, where teamwork and motivation through interesting work are essential. After five MARS exercises, a detailed analysis of staff members’ individual progress will be made in the framework of MOMARS, a SCC working group dealing with MARS follow-up. This analysis will give us a clearer picture of whether the objectives of MARS, among which a greater differentiation to reward « high flyers » as is the wish of HR, have been reached. We shall see.

We welcomed the publication of Operational Circular no. 9 at the beginning of September, which puts in place a formal structure for dealing with cases of harassment. But first let us point out that CERN has no more known cases of harassment than other organizations of the same type. However, it is important that, following the introduction of the Code of Conduct, there are now three levels to help guarantee equal opportunities at CERN and to manage possible conflict: (i) an informal level, where the Ombuds plays a vital role, (ii) a formal level in the framework of OC9 with the Harassment Investigation Panel, and (iii) the recently set up Diversity Office.

The voluntary special programmes (part-time work as a pre-retirement measure, progressive retirement programme, short-term saved leave) remain a highly-appreciated component of the staff policy , since they offer staff members flexibility in their working time, thus guaranteeing a better work-life balance. We therefore hope that the Director-General will extend these programmes in 2012 .

An important subject at our meetings was the renewal of the Staff Council. Indeed, every two years elections take place to elect the 60 delegates who will decide on the policy of the Staff Association to be defended before the Management and Member States.

The strength of the Staff Association is its members. We need a maximum amount of staff members at our side by becoming members of the Staff Association. As a member you can fully participate in the life of the Staff Association, first by electing in your electoral college the delegates who will represent you and, why not, even more actively, by standing for election yourself at the beginning of November to become a Staff Council delegate.

Only a strong, determined and united Staff Association and Staff Council, that represent all sensibilities of the staff will be able to face the future stakes and guarantee that we will be able to continue our work of building a “laboratory of social excellence” to which everyone can adhere. We are counting on you.


1 Presentation at our public meetings

by Staff Association