Mid-mandate reports

Now half way through his mandate (2009-2013), our Director-General presented on 4th July a glowing report on both the scientific and technical fronts. This gives him, his team, and all CERN staff great satisfaction. Furthermore, despite a rather worrying economic situation in most of our Member States, he has managed to obtain the approval of the 2012 budget and the medium-term plan until 2016, which will allow our social security system, pensions and health insurance, to be considerably consolidated.

The mandate of the President of the Staff Association lasts one year. So, where are we at half way through the mandate?

Without doubt the pensions issue in particular kept us busy during the first six months. We explained to you during the two series of public meetings in April and June that we did not agree with the Management’s proposals for the new members and beneficiaries of the Fund and we showed you our own fairer proposals. However, under the continuous pressure of the Member States, almost no positive evolution has been possible, and, despite our action on 22nd June, the Management’s proposals were approved by CERN Council on 23rd June.

To minimize the negative impact of the major downgrading of the pension conditions which will be offered to persons recruited from 1st January 2012, much work with the Management still needs to be done over the coming months. We will, in fact, try to convince our decision-makers of the need to put in place accompanying measures in the form of a voluntary programme offering flexibility, which would take into account both long careers and, even more so, short careers (more than 60% of staff are older than 30 when they are recruited at CERN, and it should be possible for them to purchase additional contributions to the Pension Fund, so that, at the age of 67, they can benefit from an adequate pension).

But the Staff Association has also been busy in other areas, an overview of which follows:

  • You no doubt remember that the Director-General awarded a bonus of one thousand Swiss francs to all staff members active in 2010 as recognition of their efforts towards the success of the LHC. On the request of the Staff Association, additional training of the same value was offered to fellows.
  • After the appointment of a mediator mid-2010, the new procedure for handling cases of harassment was finalized and codified in Operational Circular no. 9, and the President and members of the investigation panel (HIP) were recently nominated. Furthermore, a diversity officer will complete the framework set up to guarantee that the CERN code of conduct is respected.
  • The statistics of the 2011 MARS presented to the SCC on 6th July show that the budgets spent per career path and the global distribution of the number of steps per eligible person correspond to the planned estimates. A study over five years, the period of time MARS has been in place, will verify if the objectives of the system have been reached or if adjustments are needed. Furthermore, HR Department will organize in the autumn a mini staff survey to find out what staff members  think about certain aspects of the MARS.
  • On the request of the Member States and in a spirit of increased transparency, certain changes were made to Annex A1 of the Staff Rules and Regulations, which specifies the procedure for the periodic reviews of the financial and social conditions of members of the personnel, including the five-yearly review of our employment conditions.
  • The CHIS Board, a sub-group of the SCC which oversees the CERN Health Insurance System (CHIS), has defined in detail the changes to the system’s benefits from 1st January 2012. The text of the new rules of the CHIS remains to be finalized for approval by the SCC at the beginning of September. In parallel, UNIQA, the CHIS administrator, will adapt its computer management system for reimbursements to be able from the same date to deal with the table of new benefits as well as with the table of current benefits .
  • Staff Council has studied in detail the CERN Competency Model (CCM), in particular its behavioural component-, and was interested to learn about the way it will be used in the framework of the different administrative procedures (recruitment, probation period, award of an indefinite contract, advancement, promotion, etc.). In particular, the question was asked about the benefits of introducing such a model at CERN.
  • A fund-raising event organized jointly by the Staff Association and the Management, which gathered over 50 000 Swiss francs, showed the generosity of the CERN staff towards the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. At the same time, the parents at the CERN Nursery School collected toys and teaching material to send to Japan.

We will of course come back to these subjects at the public meetings that we will organize as usual in the departments during the last week of September.

La version française de cet article a été publiée dans l'Echo n°130

by Staff Association