CERN Accelerating science

What has the Staff Association done for me?

The Staff Association’s mission is fourfold:

  • Serve and defend the economic, social, professional and moral interests of all CERN staff.
  • Safeguard the rights and the interests of the families of staff and beneficiaries of the Pension Fund.
  • Promote good relations between staff, other employees working on site, and the communities in which staff members and their families live.
  • Work with the Council and the Director-General to propose and implement ways to further the mission of the Organization.

Created in 1955 the Staff Association entered the Staff Rules as the intermediary for relations between staff and CERN Management with the creation of a Standing Advisory Committee in 1962.

Twenty years later, this committee became the ‘Standing Concertation Committee’ (SCC). 1994 saw the creation of the Tripartite Employment Conditions Forum (TREF).

All well and good, but what has the Staff Association ever done for me?

Cast your mind back to 2012; the Long-Term Saved Leave Scheme (LTSLS) came into existence and CERN was awarded the third HR Innovation Award for the scheme’s novelty and innovation.

However, the seeds for (LTSLS) were sown many years before, in 1996, thanks to proposals from the Staff Association.

On several occasions, the Staff Council discussed flexible working hours, a wide access to part-time work, and decreasing hours worked as a pre-retirement measure.

This proposal was led by former Staff Association President Michel Vitasse, who defined flexible working time arrangements as a voluntary adjustment of working time, even with a reduction in salary, and advocated a collective organization of time worked to allow flexibility in individual's working time arrangements.

In September 1986, in collaboration with the Applied Psychology group of Neuchâtel University, a survey was sent to all members of staff to gather their views on various aspects of working time arrangements.

Despite an analysis of the 1282 replies received, the results made available to the SCC and the DG at the time, there was no follow-up.

The time to introduce such flexible working hours was not ripe; nevertheless, the Staff Association did not forget this topic and consulted other international organizations and national staff union representatives to learn about their initiatives on this subject.

In 1996, crisis struck the Organization, the CERN Council decided to reduce the Organization’s budget by 7.5% with a cut in the staff budget of 2%.

Out of this crisis, the Staff Association proposed two programs to allow additional recruitment and facilitate the transfer of knowledge between generations, the RSL scheme (precursor of the SLS) and the PRP scheme, a progressive retirement program.

This innovative idea, proposed by the Staff Association was praised in several articles published in national newspapers, for instance, “Staff take holes so CERN can hire young” (The Times Higher Education Supplement of 16th January 1998). A great social advance!

In December 2007, Management considered that the programs were too costly, thus the long-term component was withdrawn, to be replaced with STSLS (Short-Term Saved Leave Scheme) in 2008. In January 2012, the STSLS was extended with a long-term component, LTSLS.

The Staff Association played an instrumental role in co-sponsoring this proposal with a much-wanted long-term component.

Now the LTSLS can be used flexibly, not only at the end of the contract but also for specific needs throughout the career (e.g. care for a close relative suffering from a serious illness or for professional development).

The Staff Association exists because different categories of CERN staff come together to defend their rights and material and moral interests, as a group of persons or as individuals.

The Staff Association is also a source of proposals, gaining respect in its role as a negotiating partner the more staff members it has behind it.

Why not join us?