expectations on the forthcoming internal competition
As TAO recently, for the first time ever at the European Commission, colleagues of the AST/SC function group will be offered the opportunity to apply to an internal competition to change function group to the AST category. This unprecedented and courageous decision, a fair choice in the right direction, has been communicated to TAO-The Independents by DG HR in response to our Petition to Commissioner Hahn last July. We congratulate ourselves on the imminent publication of the notice of competition.
Let us remember that this category of personnel, created ten years ago, has a shorter career path, a lower salary grid, and lower promotion quotas. And only minimal steps have been made in the direction of giving solutions to a function group with no possibility to grow. This has caused and is still causing frustration, and colleagues feel unfairly treated, as it is obvious that AST/SC colleagues do and are asked to do much more than what they are supposed to do concerning the functions formally attributed to this category (90% of them currently carry out tasks corresponding to the AST colleagues).
This announcement to organise, very soon, an internal competition to change function group to the AST category has logically generated expectations among the AST/SC colleagues, and they wonder about the elements which will be part of the notice of that internal competition. It is humanly and professionally understandable. In that line, TAO has carried out a pulse survey at the end of October among AST/SCs, which helped to cast some light on the current views of the colleagues.
We believe that organising a one-off internal competition will not solve the problems encountered by the function group, and that other internal competitions should follow. In that sense, we think that the organisation of two internal competitions within the mandate of the Commission is feasible.
Colleagues also believe that the number of successful candidates sought for this competition should at least equal the 5% of the total number of AST/SCs. For coherence’s sake, the eligibility criteria must take account of the number of pertinent seniority, i.e., working experience as the function group targeted (AST).
At TAO we consider that this move by the administration has to be seen as part of a wider review exercise of the prospects for the category, offering a reasonable career development and a fair professional recognition for the AST/SCs, as well as addressing the long-term challenges in the framework of the New HR Strategy. A proper and careful communication is a key aspect that has been neglected until now. we are hopeful that the administration will take due care of this sensitive point. Furthermore, to be noted that soon many colleagues will be blocked at the end of their careers, , that’s why an action is urgently needed.
TAO-The independents will continue following very closely the file in the next years, as well as others equally important, like homogenisation of job descriptions, better definition of roles between the AST and the AST/SC categories, and access for AST/SCs to the rotation exercise in the EU Delegations.