The Brussels bureacrats are taking to the barricades in order not to lose an euro's worth of their lucrative salaries and other benefits. Britain's David Cameron is said to lead the fight against the Brussels nomenklatura:
The main unions representing European Union employees have called a strike for Thursday Nov. 8 to protest a push from several member states to cut staff and administrative costs during the bloc’s next budget period.
The EU’s 27 member states are currently fighting tooth and nail over their financial framework for the seven years between 2014 and 2020. This struggle will come to a head at a summit currently scheduled for Nov. 22 and 23, but that European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has already warned could well stretch into the weekend. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has threatened to veto any deal that doesn’t freeze spending at 2011 levels, and states like Germany and the Netherlands are also calling for a slimming-down of EU spending.-
Mr. Geradon expects as much as 90% of council staff to walk off the job next Thursday with a lower turnout for the commission. Employees of the European Parliament at the moment only plan to hold a general meeting, but continue working.
The strike by Brussels bureaucrats won’t go down well with many politicians and European citizens at a time when the EU is prescribing harsh spending cuts in many member states. But Mr. Geradon says claims that EU staff is getting a cushy deal aren’t justified. “We are also taking our deal of the austerity measures,” he told Real Time Brussels.
Last year, member states blocked a pay increase that EU staff would have been due under the formula used to calculate their salaries (that formula is based on civil servants’ pay in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and the three Benelux states) and Mr. Geradon says the same is likely to happen this year. On top of that, the Commission proposal foresees a 5% cut in staff at a time when the work load is increasing, as well as a rise in working time and the retirement age.
If the Nov. 8 strike doesn’t change member states’ position on the administrative costs, unions plan another day of strikes on Nov. 16. “We hope that we won’t have to do the other day of striking, but of course it could well be a long-standing industrial action,” says Mr. Geradon.
Our heart goes out to the poor people, working so hard to eke out a rudimentary living in the European (gourmet) capital! Fortunately, it appears that Cameron's rude campaign against the EU civil servants is not shared by his Foreign & Commonwealth Office, which has this to say about the lifestyle of a Brussels bureacrat:
More than just a career!
You will have the opportunity to work in a diverse and multi-cultural environment and have the opportunity to make lifelong friends with colleagues from 27 different countries. You will live and breathe the multinational culture that Brussels has to offer, learn new languages and have the opportunity to travel around the world with the EU civil service. If this sounds like a career you want then take our interactive quiz to see if you have what it takes!
The benefits of a career in the EU include:
- A generous starting salary in excess of €45,000 a year (plus other allowances)
- A lifetime of different jobs
- Final salary pension scheme
- 24 days leave per annum
- Working arrangements that help ensure a good work-life balance
- Discounted medical insurance
- Excellent training and development opportunities