Looking back

On 21 May 2015 we celebrate the 60 years of the Staff Association. In the first issue of the Journal of the Staff Association (October 1955), we find some information about the first months of the still very young CERN Staff Association. It is interesting to note, that the current structure of the Staff Association (body of delegates, clubs, cultural activities) was more or less already defined in 1955.

Creating a CERN Staff Association

In February 1955, members of CERN personnel gather at the Geneva Institute of Physics and decide to get together in an association. A group of six elected staff take on the task of drafting proposals for the Statutes and the working rules.

In April, the constituent Assembly unanimously adopts the Statutes. The Association now officially exists. In June and July, the Election Committee appointed at the April meeting, organizes the elections of the first Committee, which is composed of nine members, including A. Sarazin, President, T. Ball, Vice-president; J.-P. Stroot, Secretary, and R. Siegfried, Treasurer.

On July 18, the Committee sets its immediate objectives, studies its working methods and begins its work. Commissions for information and organization are created. On August 5, the CERN Director General recognizes the Staff Association as the normal channel of consultation between him and the staff, and invites the Committee to participate in a consultative joint body consisting of CERN management and staff representatives (it will, however, take until January 1962 and the 5th Edition of the Staff Rules and Regulations before the staff representation is formally recognized, in particular through the establishment of a Permanent Advisory Committee).

Goals, resources, organization and activities

The goals of the Association are many, but a key point is to promote a spirit of understanding and mutual cooperation between the staff and the governing bodies of CERN, and between different people working at CERN.

The contribution in 1955 was set to 5 CHF (today this would be about 23 CHF, taking into account the increase in cost of living between 1955 and 2014).

To enable it to fulfill efficiently the goals specified in the Statutes of the Staff Association; the Committee decides at its first meeting to set up information committees whose task is to provide a broad base of information. Following the results of a staff survey, two subjects for study are proposed: salaries and the Statutes.

The Committee also created two committees dealing with organisation, whose role is to find and implement ways to improve the living conditions of the civil servants in Geneva, on the material as well as the cultural levels. Thus, the Commission for material issues, and the Sports Commission are created.

The Commission for material issues reviews all financial issues of common concern that were not within the remit of other committees. For example, the problems related to the transfer of staff to Meyrin (restaurant, rest rooms, etc.); the establishment of a larger group for purchases than that already existing. Contacts with other international organizations based in Geneva; entertainment, housing and a circulating library are other important issues being considered.

The Sports Commission studies the many sports-related issues, not limiting itself to only organizing sports activities for those already practicing them since a long time, but also to create interest among staff for sports' activities. Indeed, many staff would like to practice sports, but are put off by the material difficulties they encounter. The Commission studies in particular the problem of lack of sports facilities in Meyrin and is looking into a number of temporary solutions. Some arrangements with facilities in Geneva for football, judo, golf and squash have already been concluded. Contacts have also been initiated for volleyball, basketball, table tennis, and the creation of a ski club is planned. Thus, since its beginning, in 1955, the Sports Commission suggests that people interested in a given sport get together and set up a club.

by Staff Association