SCC meeting of 25 May 2023

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SCC meeting of 25 May 2023

As already indicated in ECHO 400, the Staff Association (SA) continues to share with you our understanding of the discussions at the Standing Concertation Committee (SCC) meetings, to make the discussions transparent and to keep the personnel informed.

The fourth meeting of 2023 of the SCC was held on 25 May. We will update you on the discussions that took place on the third meeting on 6 April at our next public meeting.

Adoption of the agenda

The Staff Association was surprised that Administrative Circular No. 23 entitled "Special working hours", was not on the agenda, despite the fact that it had been urgently addressed to the sub-group of the SCC No. 1, which is responsible for proposing to the SCC the drafting of the Organization's legislative texts (AC, OC, Staff Rules and Regulations, etc.).

SCC sub-group No. 1, a joint sub-group between the Management and the Association, had in fact reached a consensus on the text to be proposed to the SCC. The text explained the main principles under which the Director-General could approve the payment of "overtime" on duty travel as part of projects such as DUNE. These principles had been approved by the SCC meeting on 6 April.

However, the Chair of the SCC explained that Management was not yet ready, referred the revision of the circular to sub-group No. 1 and refused to share, during the meeting, the reasons why the text still needed to be revised.

The Association is particularly surprised by this response, given that while sub-group No. 1 prepares the concertation on the drafting of texts, the principles guiding the concertation must be discussed and agreed by the SCC.

The Association asked for two points to be added to the agenda: the issue of the Users and the progress made by the working groups in which the Staff Association is involved.

The SCC Chair also asked for a new item (AOB) on the concerted work stoppage filed by the SA on May 24.

Introduction on the review of factors and parameters in the Pension Fund Regulations of CERN

At the December 2020 Council meeting, the Fund Actuary1 gave a presentation on his analysis of the factors and comments on the parameters as set out in the Fund Regulations and made suggestions.

At the September 2021 Council meeting, the Council noted the actuary's analysis and decided to ask the Director-General to undertake a review of some of the factors and parameters in the Fund.

Following this decision of Council, the Director-General appointed the Director of Finance and Human Resources to establish a working group to examine the following factors:

  • Early retirement;
  • Transfer values (transfers to and from the Fund);
  • The purchase of additional affiliation periods; and
  • The "young spouse reduction" applicable to the surviving spouse's pension.

In a second phase, the working group will also review the parameters commented on by the actuary in his report.

The Chief Executive Officer of the CERN Pension Fund gave a presentation on the progress made.

The Staff Association recalled that these issues are part of the personnel management policy of CERN. The Staff Association reiterated that the CERN Pension Fund is a social fund, and it is imperative that the interests of pensioners who have served the Organization for decades (and paid into it for their retirement) are protected. This approach must be preserved.

With regard to the various basic principles for examining the factors and parameters, the Association considers that the "best estimate"2method used in actuarial studies for analysis should not be considered the only valuation method.

SAPOCO's competencies

The Staff Association was and remains opposed to the modification of the previous code A11 concerning the "Administrative procedure following a serious accident or incident".

The new version of this procedure, entitled "SSI-SIM-2-1 Special Safety Instruction - Classification, Investigation, Analysis and follow-up of a Major Safety Incident"3, eliminates:

  • The involvement of the SCC: The Director-General, with the advice of the Standing Concertation Committee, of the Safety Policy Committee (SAPOCO) and the Management Committee, sets up the Administrative procedure to follow in the event of a serious accident or incident.    
  • The systemic presence of the Staff Association on the Accident Committee.

In the new SSI-SIM-2-1 instruction, the Major Safety Incidents Committee (MSIB) submits recommendations to the Director-General. Only the participation of the Association is now limited4. The SA considers that this restricted participation undermines the transparency of the debates and the positions taken by the Management.

Furthermore, in this context, it unacceptably limits the SA's mandate to defend the members of the personnel, by not allowing it to participate in the drafting of recommendations and to ensure that these, whether individual or collective, are appropriate.     

The Association has asked for this point to be included again on the SCC agenda. The Management, for its part, requested that the Organization's Legal Service make a presentation on SAPOCO's competencies 5, explaining that :

  • Since 2008, SAPOCO has been the sole body responsible for revising safety rules, and that
  • At the SCC meeting of March 2013, it was notified that the safety rule concerning safety responsibilities and organisation at CERN replaces part of document SAPOCO 42 as well as safety codes A1, A9 and A10, and that the safety codes are not "usually" submitted to the SCC.

The Association stressed that when the A11 code was amended, the procedure had not been respected, and on the content the Association reiterated its disagreement with the amendment implying that the Association would only be invited under certain conditions.

At the meeting, the Association again tried to reach a concertation on this point, and proposed to have the same attendance status as the Enlarged Directorate6, with an opt-out option, if the Association considered that its presence would not be necessary.

The Chair of the SCC recommended that the SA should return to SAPOCO and ended the discussion.

CERN Health Insurance Scheme report

The CHIS annual report was presented during the meeting. CHIS investment funds are closely monitored by the Organization's Treasury and Accounting services. The CHIS Board is periodically informed of the situation. Investment performance to end April 2023 was slightly positive.

The SCC acknowledged the report.

Administrative simplification of leave in the event of illness of a close relative

The Human Resources department presented an administrative simplification concerning leave in the event of illness of a close relative, without changing the existing rights or conditions, which are as follows:

  • Duration: 7 days/year of leave plus 5 days for single parents.
  • Reason: illness of close relative and necessary presence of member of the personnel at his/her side.
  • Definition of close relative: spouse/partner, child, parent, brother/sister, parents-in-law of a member of the personnel.

From now on, the Human Resources department will no longer require a medical certificate except in the case of a request for sick leave for a close relative lasting more than three consecutive calendar days.

For requests of a shorter duration, a declaration on the honour of the member of the personnel will now be sufficient.

The Staff Association supported this administrative simplification in the interests of the members of the personnel. 

Revision of Administrative circulars No. 5, 12A and 12B

Following the amendment of Article R IV 1.08 of the Staff Rules and Regulations, on the non-accumulation of family allowances7, the content of 3 administrative circulars had to be amended. This revision took place within the SCC sub-group No. 1 and was presented to the meeting by the Human Resources department's Legal service. The Staff Association supports the amendments presented, which were prepared in advance and in concertation with the SCC sub-group No. 1.   


Users of CERN - submitted by the SA

The Staff Association reiterates the need to rapidly address the various concerns raised by the Association over the last three years, namely:

  • Today, after a year and a half only 6 associate members of the personnel are EXAS8. The Staff Association questions the eligibility criteria and the relevance of this status. Was it really necessary to create a new category of members of the personnel?
  • The introduction of the COLA9 and its taxation by the fiscal authorities are reducing the amount of financial resources available to the Users concerned. Despite repeated requests from the SA, no thought has been given on how to compensate for this loss of income.
  • The adequacy between the contractual relationship between a User and their institute and the eligibility criteria defined by CERN for becoming a User, needs to be studied.

These questions raise the broader but crucial issue of maintaining the attractiveness of CERN for the User community, now and in the future.

Who should the Association approach to ensure that progress is made on these questions? The Chair of the SCC informed the SA delegation that the SCC is the place to address these issues. The SA will not fail to return to this subject until there is satisfactory progress on all these issues.

Progress made by the working groups - submitted by the SA

The Staff Association considers that the results of the work done by the working groups to which the SA is invited, are unsatisfactory, as the following list shows:

  • The Career Development Working Group: only one recommendation was approved by the SCC in March 2022 and no other recommendations have been discussed since.
  • The HR Internal Justice Working Group: no significant progress has been made since the external experts' report was produced at the beginning of the year.
  • The technical Working Group on financial resources for members of the personnel employed by an external institute has not addressed the issue of COLA taxation.

Concerted work stoppage (CWS) - submitted by the Management

The Chair of the SCC raised the issue of the concerted work stoppage submitted the previous day by the SA to the Management, in order to immediately begin the conciliation process that is systematically required in such cases.

The Association pointed out that a thorough conciliation process would require an extraordinary meeting of the SCC, and that it would not be appropriate to deal with the issue as a "Other Business" item. Nonetheless, the Association agreed to explain the reasons for filing the CCT, reasons that would have to be discussed in order to resolve the origin of the conflict.

The Chair of the SCC rejected every demand made by the SA in the document announcing and explaining the reasons for the concerted work stoppage.

An extraordinary meeting of the SCC was scheduled for Tuesday 30 May at 5 p.m. We will have the opportunity to come back to this important issue in more detail at our next public meeting.


  1. The actuary is the professional who determines the future evolution of demographic, economic and financial variables, using actuarial calculations to forecast medium- and long-term reality.
  2. "Best estimate" Assumptions are used in the Fund's periodic actuarial studies. These are the assumptions most likely to hold true in practice, i.e. for each assumption, the probability that actual results will be more favourable than expected is 50%, and the probability that actual results will be less favourable than expected is also 50%. Overall, the probability of recording actuarial gains should be equal to the probability of recording actuarial losses in future years.
  3. SSI-SIM-2-1_EN.docx (
  4. The President of the Staff Association if at least one of the preliminary recommendations could lead to a change in the Staff Rules and Regulations, an administrative or operational circular or the initiation of disciplinary proceedings.
  5. The Safety Policy Committee (SAPOCO) is an advisory body to the Director-General on matters relating to the safety policy of CERN. It advises the Director-General on the definition of the safety policy of CERN and on the appropriate measures for its implementation. It contributes to the establishment and revision of the safety rules of CERN, in accordance with the applicable procedures. It appoints the Departmental Safety Officers Committee (DSOC).
  6. If a member of the Enlarged Directorate decides not to participate in the Major Safety Incident Board (MSIB), he/she shall notify the Director-General of this decision. In this case, the member is deemed to have accepted the conclusions and recommendations of the MSIB.
  7. Article R IV 1.08 specifies that family benefits to which a member of the personnel employed or a member of his or her family from a source outside the Organization is entitled must be deducted from benefits of the same nature paid by the Organization. The current provision is silent as regards benefits of the same nature to which a person who is not a member of the family of the member of the personnel is entitled, such as benefits paid to persons other than the spouse (for example, another relative in the case of stepchildren) or a former spouse. In order to make it clear that all family benefits of the same nature, paid in respect of a dependent child, are subject to the non-accumulation clause and must be declared by the member of the personnel, it is proposed that the obligation to declare such benefits to the Organization be explicitly mentioned.

8.    §31 of Administrative Circular No. 11 “Experiment associates shall be scientists, engineers or technicians admitted by the Organization to contribute specialised technical or coordination expertise on behalf of their home institution to the execution of experiment-related activities designated by the experiment collaboration, under an agreement between the Organization, as Host Laboratory, and their home institution. They shall be employed by their home institution. The minimum duration of an appointment as an experiment associate shall be six months. The total maximum duration of an appointment as an experiment associate shall not exceed eight years”.

9. The Management's position to justify the introduction of the COLA is as follows: a distinction must be made between the allowances that CERN processes in favour of associate members of personnel on behalf of third parties as a service to home institutions and collaborations (COLA), and the subsistence allowances that CERN pays to associate members of personnel. The COLA does not fall within the scope of the financial and family benefits paid by the Organization and will not give rise to internal annual tax statements.