Did you think that the problem of collecting the membership fees had been solved? Absolutely not!

Membership fees

A bit of history ...

For more than 60 year’s, each January, the Organization's standard practice, has been to pay, into the Association's bank account the total amount of individual membership fees calculated on the basis of the annual basic salary of each member. Each year, the totality of the membership fees allows the Association to fulfil its statutory role within the Organization, that is to, pay subsidies for ‘Le Jardin des Particules, the clubs, the Long-Term Collections, Children's Christmas party, etc; defend the personnel (legal assistance, training of staff delegates, actions & information, surveys...) and cover its  functional expenses (secretariat, insurance, equipment...).

Two years ago, the Management unilaterally questioned this practice, which is common in intergovernmental organizations, by announcing that it no longer wished to collect the Association's fees.

For the past two years, discussions at different levels have been taking place without the Management giving  any real objective reason for this proposed change nor willing to find a satisfactory alternative.

The reason(s) invoked

Well, it is rather nebulous ... At first we were told that that compliance with Operational Circular No. 11 (OC n°11 on Data Protection) no longer allowed such process, since the Association is 'external' to the Organization. As this statement is unfounded, this  reason was replaced by another, notably the need to obtain the consent of the members of the Association to pay a membership fee and to have it collected by the CERN services. However, the Association demonstrated that its members have always given their prior consent to pay a membership fee and that this fee be collected via the Salaries office through a confidential process. The process exists, is well known and well established. So, there is no real substantiated reason for the proposed change !

It goes without saying that the Association is committed to preserve and secure your personal data. Any improvement that should prove useful in the future towards this purpose will be implemented.

In addition, it should be pointed out that the Organization still collects many membership fees for private commercial companies such as UNIQA[1] for loss of earnings insurance and Helvetia[2]  for life insurance. If the provisions of OC11 are preserved in these cases, there can be no serious argument against continuing collecting the Staff Association membership fee.

Wouldn't it be more for... ?

The Association considers that, in the absence of any real justified motivation, it cannot be excluded that the Management's will is mainly to reduce the financial means and divert from its mission a non-negligible fraction of the Association's human resources, thus depriving the personnel of the indispensable protection and support they currently benefit through the Association. 

Indeed, without access to the members' basic salary, the only possible contribution is a fixed, unique, low amount. This fixed amount cannot be too high since proportionally  it would represent too much effort for the lower grade members of personnel. In such a case, solidarity between members (high grades for low grades and old for young) would not be respected and the means of the Association would be significantly reduced. We cannot accept this!

This is even more true since many intergovernmental organizations (e.g. ITU, ILO, OECD and WHO) also collect the membership fees through their Organizations services and the implementation of rules for the protection of personal data has not posed any problem to the continuation of this practice.

How will the contributions be levied  in January 2022?

We do not know to this day. Management has given no response to our repeated request to continue the collection as it is done today in the absence of any justified argument for a change.

Yet time is running out to raise this sword of Damocles which has been hanging over the heads of the personnel for two years and is putting at risk on the smooth running of the concertation. Sword of Damocles, which could be perceived as a constraint in the defence of the positions and interests of the personnel in this period of the end of the five-yearly review. 

The Organization is not only our employer, but also has a role of a State in matters such as pensions and health insurance. We and our families have left our national systems to rely on the Organization to fulfil these functions.

How can you defend your positions and promote your interests, how can you represent and defend yourselves without the Staff Association, a service of the Organization and a statutory body being able to exercise its mandate?

We must remain united on this vital issue!

The Management's proposed change is without any real justification and directly undermines staff representation. This is even more true, since the Staff Association has in many past occasions, through the concertation process enabled the Organization to face challenges and even to provide  innovative approaches (Saved Leave Scheme, long-term care, local staff ...) to important challenges.

The Management must abandon this idea and allow us to concert on the real issues (5YR, policy and types of contracts, internal taxation of the amounts paid to MPAs, career development ...).


[1] The premium is payable every calendar year. It is equal to 0.15% of the minimum annual basic remuneration (i.e. monthly basic remuneration for the month of January multiplied by 12), and is deducted from the remuneration in January by the Salaries Office.

[2] CERN has concluded a group insurance contract with Helvetia Swiss Life Insurance Company Ltd. Staff members and fellows are entitled, on a voluntary basis, to take out life insurance on favourable terms through a life insurance contract. The monthly premium, paid by the insured member of the personnel, is withheld from the salary by CERN.