Concerted work stoppage on 2 June 2023


Dear Colleagues,

The Staff Association has assumed its responsibilities by calling a concerted work stoppage. By not doing so, it would have cost the members of the personnel a chance to be heard and respected.

Many thanks to those of you who came!

You can still all declare that you took part in the concerted work stoppage.

Would you like to make the personnel's voice heard? It depends on the number of participants in this concerted work stoppage!

Why last Friday?

This assembly was an essential step on the difficult road we have chosen to follow to promote and defend both your interests and those of the Organization.

Since January, we have heard your incomprehension at not seeing your efforts to help the Organization cope with its budgetary difficulties[1] have not been matched by a similar effort on the part of the Member States. While respecting the sovereignty of the States and the CERN Council, we had to convey your expectations to them, without penalizing the Management's efforts to obtain additional exceptional contributions.    

In addition, we have had to deal with a constant deterioration in concertation, a deterioration that culminated with the arrival of the last SCC[2] Chairman, whose very role is supposed to be to work together with the Vice-Chairman of the SCC[3], to maintain the spirit of concertation.

Despite our best efforts, in most cases we have only succeeded in blocking the Management's attacks aimed at downgrading the social and financial conditions of the personnel in all categories.

Since the Director General's request for members of the personnel to participate in efforts to deal with the Organization's current financial situation, we have become increasingly concerned by the absence of discussions on this subject with the Management. However, the purely budgetary approach adopted and the impact on the personnel changed over time:

  • Management's initial idea of having a blank check for 10 years, so as not to give out all or part of the MERIT, and/or CVI, and/or apply a crisis levy, not to mention implementing a reduction in the personnel budget leading to a reduction in headcount,
  • Announce that the crisis levy will not affect headcount but discover that additional savings of CHF 200 million (1/2 of the CHF 440 million savings package that was to be implemented if and when necessary) will be applied as of 2024 to offset the CHF 190 million in additional expenditure added to the MTP 2024-2028 by the Management,
  • Overlooking the fact that the CHF 128 million of savings on operations and services budgets may have an impact on Fellows and Graduates, who are financed by material budgets,
  • Confirmation, twice, by the DFRH at the Finance Committee that 10% of the CHF 440 million savings correspond to savings on the personnel budget.

Lastly, it has been impossible since January, to make any real progress in the SCC on the other proposals in the package of measures put forward by the SA:

  • No SCC sub-group has been established to bring ideas on internal taxation back to TREF[4],
  • Mention by the President of the SCC that he expects savings from the working group on voluntary departure measures[5],
  • No reply on the main savings measures implemented by the Management following the personnel proposals[6],
  • There are no significant changes to the plans for the construction new office buildings, simply the postponement of one phase of Bat 140.

In this context, with the moribund state of concertation only getting worse, we could no longer wait to call for a concerted work stoppage.

Strategic Concertation Forum (SCF) before concertation (SCC)

Our request is to activate the Strategic Concertation Forum (SCF) was the best mechanism to enable the Staff Association to play its role as a force of proposal before any strategic decisions particularly those affecting members of the personnel are made by the Enlarged Directorate (ED).

There are two main reasons for this: firstly, the SCF it is a forum, not a concertation platform (TREF is also a forum, not a place for concertation - this is one of the reasons for its usefulness and success). And secondly, and it must deal with strategy prior any decisions are taken by the Directorate, rather than discussing measures to implement decisions that have already been taken.

Today, CERN is preparing to approve the successor to the LHC, and efforts are expected of us.

Management will not succeed in its aims without the support of members of the personnel—or, if it does, the price paid by members of the personnel will be exorbitant. This is a message we hoped our call for mobilisation would bring to the Management.

The Management didn't want to hear it.

Next steps

Both obtaining sufficient resources for the Organization from the Member States and having discussions on strategy between the Management and the Staff Association are, we are convinced, necessary, if not indispensable. If the Organization is to succeed in securing its future, it must have members of the personnel of the highest competence and motivation to make this future a success. We will continue to work towards achieving these two strategic objectives.

An attractive scientific programme in the short, medium and long term, yes of course, but the personnel must never be the adjustment variable in the Organization's strategy, as they are its FIRST asset, without whom nothing can or will be done.


You have until Friday 9 June to declare that you participated in the work stoppage and so help make this mobilisation a success.  The future—yours and the Organization's—requires it.


See you soon,

Almudena Solero (Vice-President), Joel Lahaye (Vice-President), and Isabelle Mardirossian (President of the Staff Association)


[1] Crisis levy in place since January

[2] Who is also Director of Finance and Human Resources (DFRH)

[3] Who is also the President of the Staff Association

[4] Only informal meetings with the Legal Department are planned.

[5] How can voluntary departure measures be made attractive in this way?

[6] It took the extraordinary SCC on 30 May to hear that we would have this information, but to date we have received nothing.