Seminar on Adequate and Sustainable Pensions, Brussels, 4th March 2004

Eurofedop held a colloquium in Athens, Greece, on the 3rd-5th of April last year with themes such as Mobility – CAF/EQM – Pensions. During the Greek presidency in 2003, the "modernisation of the European Social Model" and the strengthening of the efficiency of the Lisbon Strategy have already been intensely discussed. Since, the challenge of an ageing population and its implications for the maintenance of adequate and sustainable pensions is only growing, Eurofedop provides you with a short report on the Seminar ‘A Balancing Act : Achieving Adequacy and Sustainability in Retirement Income Reform’, that took place on the 4th of March 2004 and that was co-hosted by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and AARP Global Aging Programme. Leading policy makers, business and labour decision makers, and pension experts debated whether and under what conditions it would be possible to achieve both adequate and sustainable retirement security, and how to assess the political climate for reform.
Eurofedop’s representative Marieke van der Wilk attended the first half of the morning session at the Astoria Hotel in Brussels. On behalf of Eurofedop, she presents here the most important remarks that were made at the seminar.
The issue debated at the seminar was, according to Nancy Leamond, director of the AARP’s global ageing program, an issue that the whole developed world is facing : the sustainability and adequacy of retirement income. According to Mrs Leamond, this issue does not only have implications on the world’s financial system, but also on the financial safety and security of millions of older people around the world. The focus of the seminar was on how governments should address retirement income in this context, as policy makers are only just beginning to address demographic changes of which the impact may be broad and revolutionary. Mrs Leamond held the following opinion : ‘It is a balancing act : between what is politically feasible in the short term - when reforms are relatively mild - and later, when changes will be more painful but with political action necessitated by crisis’.
Mr Theo Langejan, chairman of the Social Protection Committee of the European Union, held a presentation on the following question : is it robbing Peter to pay Paul ? With this question, Mr Langejan referred to the current debate on the future of pension systems which simply pitches the interests of one generation against those of another : the active against the retired, the young against the old, Paul against Peter. The discussion takes places according to the so-called ‘Open Method of Coordination’, a type of cooperation on pension issues that is established at EU level and is inspired by the policy coordination in the areas of economic and employment policies.

The heart of the open method of coordination consists of 11 common objectives which are shared by all Member States, with the aim to structure the presentation of their national strategies for adequate and sustainable pensions. You can find all the details of the first round of national strategy reports as well as the Joint Report on ‘Adequate and sustainable pensions’, which is presented by the Commission and the Council, on the following website
http://europa.eu.int.
Mr Langejan stressed in his speech the objective of solidarity. Especially the solidarity towards those individuals who are unable to earn sufficient incomes and pension rights. He expressed his hope towards this kind of solidarity that it would certainly not be regarded as robbery !
Mr Warren McGillivray, Chief of the Studies and Operations Branch of the International Social Security Association (ISSA), focussed in his speech on two issues. First of all he discussed the problems concerning the sustainability of public pensions, and the wider implications of population ageing. Secondly, he clarified the adequacy - or rather the implications of the inadequacy - of retirement benefits. He concluded with two suggestions. First of all, he stated that we should regard the future increases in retirement age as a necessary step to maintain living standards for the entire population, and not principally as a means of sustaining public pension schemes. Secondly, he warned that despite the need to reform public schemes so that they are sustainable, reforms which jeopardize the adequacy of future benefits may simply defer problems to future governments.
Finally, Edward Palmer, Head of Research of the National Social Insurance Board in Sweden, and R. Kent Weaver, Professor of Public Policy and Government at Georgetown University in the USA, held a discussion on the Art of Compromise : Pros and Cons of Approaches to Sustainable Pension Systems.

More information:
http://www.aarp.org.
MvdW

Trade Council Health Services
Working time directive, 10 years after

For more than a decade, Eurofedop, through its trade council Health Services and its frequent contacts with MEPs, has been very active on the issue of the working time. An issue which is crucial for the health and safety of workers, the quality of the service provided and the reconciliation of work and family life.


Soon after the adoption of the 1993 directive and its transposition, it became clear that the possibility of an exceptional opt-out became the rule. Especially for doctors in training (see directive 2000/34/EC) and other employees in the health services, the 48hr maximum workweek limit does not exist. Of course this is related to more general problems such as funding, management and human resources.


With its recent and long-awaited communication COM (2003)843 on the revision of the Working Time Directive, the Commission, however, did not bring solutions for the issues raised by the SIMAP and Jaeger cases and merely lists the problems. Nevertheless Eurofedop agrees that an impact assessment at national and at Community level of the questions raised by these cases is indispensable.

More encouraging was the report and resolution of the European Parliament adopted 29th January. The resolution underlines the importance of the wider issues involved such as the quality and financing in the health sector. Moreover the resolution insists "that the health and safety of workers and the reconciliation of family and professional life must not be subordinated to considerations of an economic nature".Even more important is the fact that the MEPs refer to the basic reason for a revision of the Working Time Directive namely that the use of the opt-out is "fully against the intentions of the directive and therefore undesirable and inappropriate".
Eurofedop is of the opinion that a revision, based upon facts and figures, is indispensable in order to guarantee the quality of health and safety in health services. A structural solution, in close co-operation between social partners, is necessary, especially as a signal to the new member states.

More info on working time:
Decisionmaking process
http://europa.eu.int
COM (2003)843
http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/nl/com/cnc/2003/com2003_0843nl01.pdf
European Parliament
http://www2.europarl.eu.int/

 

12th NISPAcee Annual Conference"Central and Eastern European Countries inside and outside the European Union: Avoiding a new divide"
Vilnius, Lithuania, May 13 – 15, 2004

Conference venue: Hotel Reval Lietuva, Vilnius, Lithuania
Organized in cooperation with the Lithuanian Public Administration Training Association, Vilnius, Lithuania


1. About NISPAcee

The core of the NISPAcee activities is to promote the development of public administration disciplines and training programmes in post-Communist countries. This means increasing the quality of instruction and research and assisting in school/institute development on international, regional and national levels.
Part of the mission is also to foster the development of civil service human resources by spreading the practices of good professional public management, public policy and governance and assisting in the overall political and economic transition through effective public service. Most important is the creating of conditions for increased professionalism of the civil service especially through the facilitation of contact between government representatives responsible for public service and representatives and consultants from member institutions. In addition to the advantage this will give the countries involved, it will also help strengthen the position of schools and institutes in these regions as well as NISPAcee as an organisation.

2. CONFERENCE THEMES

Main Conference Theme “Central and Eastern European Countries inside and outside the European Union: Avoiding a new divide”
Topic A. Problems facing the new Member States
Topic B. Problems facing the States outside the enlarged European Union
Topic C. Common problems

3. PANEL SESSION AND FORUMS

Panel Session on European Accreditation of Public Administration
Programmes
Panel Session on Joint NASPAA – NISPAcee Governance Improvement Cooperative Project
Forum for Heads of Training Centres and Institutes of Public Administration
Forum for Young Professionals in Public Administration
Others

4. WORKING GROUPS

I. Working Group on Politico-Administrative Relations

II. Working Group on Public Sector Quality

III. Working Group on Strategic Leadership in Central Government

IV. Working Group on Democratic Governance of Multiethnic Communities

V. Working Group on Public Sector Finance and Accounting

VI. Working Group on e-Government

VII. Working group on Capacity Building of Civil Servants Training System according to EU Requirements

5. MORE INFO:

http://www.nispa.sk

Health Care Position Belgium - CCOD
The CCOD Health Care Sector

This is what we are fighting for :
More personnel :
- adjustment of norms on the basis of functional criteria
- 25,000 new jobs in the health care sector = say no to stress and yes to quality
Work duration :
- for the whole health care sector
- statutory regulation of the end of the career and early retirement
Training :
- making new means available for retraining more personnel into nursing staff
- promotion of the importance of A2-A1 bridging training

Occupational diseases :
- recognition of back pains
- prevention of stress and back pains
Collective bargaining agreements :
- binding for all parties
- a negotiation platform for hospitals


CCOD Health Care Sector - Kristien Van der Gucht : +32/2/285.03.75

Inauguration of the Social Dialogue Committee in the Local and Regional Government Sector
Brussels, 13 January 2004

On behalf of the trade council Local and Regional Authorities, Ms K. Van der Gucht participated in the inaugural session of this new, 29th social dialogue committee. The meeting was opened by Ms. Odile Quintin, Director General DG Employment and Social Affairs who underlined the importance of social dialogue in European social model and the Lisbon strategy. In this respect it is vital to anticipate change and involve all actors, according to Ms. Quintin.
The plenary session then adopted the work programme 2004-2005. This includes among others the creation of 5 working groups, notably:
- telework
- public procurement/PPPs,
- local and regional dimension the European Employment Strategy
- industrial relations in new member states
- good practices on human resource management
These working groups will prepare reports, collect best practices and organise seminars. In the autumn of 2005, for example a Pan-European Conference on social dialogue in local and regional government in the EU15 and the new member states is scheduled to take place.
Based on the experience of the social dialogue committee Postal services and the social dialogue committee Telecommunications, Eurofedop and the trade council local and regional authorities will participate actively and constructively in achieving concrete results.

In memoriam Igor Lensky


To the members of the Executive Committee
To all organisations
This morning, we have been much distressed by the news of the sudden and unexpected decease of our good friend and colleague Igor Lensky, former President of SLOVES and Vice-President of EUROFEDOP.
During more than 10 years, Igor has given the best of himself, worried about the well-being of SLOVES and its members, and, being a citizen of the world, he accompanied us during many trips, far across borders, to defend the trade union cause.
In his quality of Vice-president of Eurofedop, he participated in many trade councils, seminars and other events, where we were given the opportunity to benefit from his knowledge and experience. He has not only been a very sympathetic but also a very correct colleague. We can say without exaggeration that it was for an important part thanks to Igor that Eurofedop has grown into a dynamically operating European federation, where colleagues from Central and Eastern Europe contribute actively to improving the situation for employees of the public service in Europe.

JUDr. Igor Lensk_
viceprezident KOZ SR
Predseda SLOVES
Deceased in Bratislava on 4 February 2004 at the age of 48.
The cremation will take place in Bratislava on 11 February 2004 at 13.00.
We express our sincere condolences to the family in distress and the friends of the deceased.
Mourning address : SLOVES; Vajnorská, 1; SK-81570 Bratislava; E-mail : sloves@sloves.sk

Main topics of social dialogue 2004
09-11.01.2004, Cracow (Poland)

The EZA starting seminar 2004 was conducted from January 9 to 11 in the Polish city of Cracow. During three days, representatives of 60 member centres and observers discussed about the latest developments of the European Social Dialogue. EZA also used this occasion to present its programme for the new year.

The central topic of the “European social dialogue” education programme for the next few years will be the enlargement of the European Union through the accession of Central and Eastern European states.
In the future, another important topic in the “European social dialogue” education programme will be the development of the labour market. The question of how to integrate socially disadvantaged groups (youth, seniors, women, people with disabilities, and immigrants) into the labour market is the main focus of many of our member centres’ daily work.
Both social economy and the programme established by the European Commission for lifelong learning and education in new media in the context of vocational training can be considered a response to this.
We are aware that the cited topics and materials cannot constitute a complete “intellectual inventory” of the “European social dialogue” education programme. With this document, we have tried to express the most important questions of the moment. We hope that we have thus not only provided insights into a fundamental area of EZA and its member centres’ work, but also into proposals for employee-related projects with a Christian social orientation.

Eurofedop has participated in the project “Partners in Developing Quality” with the presentation of the seminar it organised in Athens (3-5.04.2003).


Bert Van Caelenberg, Secretary General of Eurofedop, took care of the presentation and described the methodology.
He gave information on the programme and the participants, the basic document, methods, logistical and organisational aspects, the effects and publicity, after which he presented the CD-ROM, composed by Eurofedop, with all useful information regarding the seminar.
It was an honour for Eurofedop and its President Fritz Neugebauer to be given the opportunity of presenting this project as model project before more than 60 training centres from all over Europe.

Health First Europe kick-off meeting

A new organisation in the field of health care, Health First Europe, held its first members meeting in Brussels on 23 January. The primary objective of this alliance of patients organisations, health care workers, academics, experts and industry is to "ensure that equitable access to modern, innovative and reliable medical technology and healthcare is regarded as a vital investment in the future of Europe". Health First Europe does not see itself as a lobby group but as a platform for exchanging views of its members and therefore its website www.healthfirsteurope.org plays an important role. Eurofedop is a founding member of Health First Europe.

Eurofedop secretary Bert Van Caelenberg congratulates the creation of this broad platform and is delighted that the founders acknowledge the fact that health care workers are vital for the future of healthcare in Europe. As a founding member Eurofedop and the Trade Council Health services will evaluate the further initiatives of Health First Europe and participate actively in any programms destined to improve the quality of health care and the working conditions of employees in health services.
For more information:
www.healthfirsteurope.org
 

Press communiqué Trade Council Post and Telecom
Berlin, 05-XII-2003

The enlargement of the European Union asks for special attention from Eurofedop

The enlargement of the European Union, that will become reality in May 2004, will ask for special attention from Eurofedop. Thus the congress of the Trade Council Post and Telecom concluded on Friday 5th December in Berlin.
Especially the consequences resulting from the enlargement for the countries that will join the EU, were the subject of a thorough discussion. The trade unions from the accession countries that are affiliated to Eurofedop, expressed fear that they will be confronted with large-scale reorganisations and loss of jobs. They are aware that changes will not fail to take place in the sectors of Post and Telecom. The competition between companies will increase. Several companies may be taken over by other companies. Besides, this is already happening in the sector Telecom. Often, these reorganisations are applied, without sufficient consideration given to the interests of the workers concerned. Trade unions may be ignored or are not taken seriously. Therefore, there is no other alternative for trade unions than to undertake actions (including strikes) to urge company directions to grant trade unions their legitimate position.



The Trade Council Post and Telecom is of the opinion that, with the accession of these new member states, the European Commission has the responsibility of seeing to the realisation of good labour relations in these countries. On the basis of arguments, employers and trade unions should consult with each other on the elaboration of a good social policy. From the trade council Post and Telecom, colleagues trade unions from the accession countries will be supported in word and deed so that a good social dialogue may come into place in these countries.
Eurofedop calls on the employers’ organisations ETNO (Telecom) and PostEurop (Post) to take care of the realisation of good labour relations in the colleagues companies from the accession countries. Moreover, Eurofedop calls on the European Commission to provide financial help in support of the development of good labour relations, so that these countries and their companies would quickly operate at a level equal to that of many other countries in Europe.
The Trade Council Post and Telecom will stay alert, in its contacts with ETNO, PostEurop and the European Commission, to ensure that the colleagues trade unions from the accession countries will be given full opportunity to participate in the various debates and discussions, so that they might quickly integrate into one European Community.
Social responsibility
Eurofedop is a great supporter of the introduction of forms of mediation to solve conflicts at the workfloor. To this end, well-trained staff at executive level should be appointed in companies to perform tasks of mediation between the management and the workers. Moreover, a dialogue should be started with company directions about their social responsibility towards workers, citizens and society. Eurofedop has developed a framework guideline in this respect.
 

Eurofedop in the Bibliothèque Solvay - presentation activities 2004
Brussels, 27.01.2004

Some 80 trade union representatives, members of the European Parliament, representatives of the European institutions, representatives of the new member states and many kindred organisations gathered in the solemn atmosphere of the Bibliothèque Solvay for the presentation of the Eurofedop activities 2004 and an informal walking dinner.

Fritz Neugebauer, President of Eurofedop, extended new year wishes to everybody and thanked the 52 member organisations and the Eurofedop staff for their work in 2003. Most notably he referred to the activities of the various trade councils, participation in the European social dialogue and the troika meetings during the Greek and Italian presidency and the organisation of seminars on Pensions, mobility and CAF in Athens and Eurofedop-Enlargement in Vienna. All of the above affirm the presence of the European Federation of Employees in Public services on the "European stage" as an initiator as well as a partner in many projects.

According to Secretary General Bert Van Caelenberg this would not be possible without the support and cooperation of many members of the European Parliament and other European organisations. The ultimate goal of all this work should be the interests of the employees in the public services.

For more information:
www.eurofedop.org
www.bibliothequesolvay.be