We are IPSO

About IPSO

IPSO works for the interests of its members in creating and continually improving a European Civil Service devoted to and inspired by the values of the European Union, namely the respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. IPSO wishes to contribute to a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.

Mission and Vision

What we strive for

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Statutes and Rules

Our rules and regulations

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Representatives

Our people

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History

What we have already achieved

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Mission and Vision

IPSO is a staff union, founded by staff of the European Central Bank (ECB) to represent the professional interests of persons working for the ECB and other international institutions and agencies in Germany.
We strive for conditions of employment for our members that live up to highest standards of an international civil service institution. They shall fully reflect and respect the fundamental social rights, International Labour Organisation conventions and the European labour and civil service law.

We raise our members' voice and take actions required to defend our members' interest. We demand that staff rights and obligations and relevant procedures can only be introduced, amended or eliminated through and after collective bargaining, a fundamental social right given to and exercised by the employer and staff representatives. This is so far denied to IPSO by the employer side.

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Statutes, Rules and Membership

The statutes of IPSO
Current version of the statutes approved by the IPSO Members' Assembly.

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IPSO Representatives

There are currently 9 elected IPSO Board members at the ECB, who are supported by an external General Secretary, four associated Board members invited by the elected IPSO Board, a communication designer and a dedicated assistant working part time.

Members of the IPSO Board:

President
Jörn Paulini
Joern.Paulini@ecb.europa.eu

Vice-President
Carlos Bowles
Carlos.Bowles@ecb.europa.eu


Vice-President
tbc.

Board Members
Emmanuel Larue
Hamid Aït-Mansour
Jan Kuchta
Johannes Priesemann
Marco Luigi Fassetta
Tillmann Frommhold
Olivier Seigneur

General Secretary
Wolfgang Hermann
hermann@ipso.de

Associated Board Members
Catherine Brodie
Gwenaël Le Breton
Veronique Michel
Bernhard Stricker

IPSO Assistant
Sibylle Rockosch
sibylle.rockosch@ecb.europa.eu

Jörn Paulini<br><i>President</i><br>
Jörn Paulini
President
Carlos Bowles<br><i>Vice President</i><br>Power needs balance.
Carlos Bowles
Vice President
Power needs balance.
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IPSO, a European Trade Union

An overview of IPSO: its history and what it stands for.

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7 June 2017 - IPSO solidarity action for hiring of IT colleagues by the ECB

On 7 June 2017, IPSO, the International and European Public Services Organisation, together with DGB, the German trade union federation, and EU trade union federations USF and EPSU called for a solidarity action for ECB’s IT staff and temporary agency staff. The objective of the action is to stop the outsourcing of IT services at the ECB and to denounce the lack of respect of the ECB for staff’s participation rights. The manifestation took place in the vicinity of the ECB in Frankfurt, at the Paul-Arnsberg-Platz. 200 or more participants attended and showed their solidarity and support for the claims.
IPSO deplores that for many years the ECB has used temporary agency staff for permanent work. Many colleagues have been working for the ECB for more than 5 years and not few for more than 10 years for worse conditions, worse than their ECB colleagues. They face permanent pressure to lose their jobs. Many come from Southern and Eastern Europe.

3 April 2017 - IPSO President calls for delivery on EU values at a union conference

IPSO participated in the seminar of the CGIL and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung on 3 Aril 2017. Find here the speech of Johannes Priesemann, speaking for IPSO on the topic "Seeking Europe? After the crisis? Seeking orientation in our constitution for our policies and actions". He calls for orientation of policies and actions on the values of the EU as laid down in Article 2 of the EU Treaty: rule of law, equality, solidarity. He flags the risks that go with the ECB's double role as employer and law-maker in its own labour law and the poor judicial control of staff's rights in European and International institutions and bodies, pointing to the scandalous situation at the European Patent Office where staff representatives have been fired. European politics and union action must deliver on the EU values.

    27 February 2017: IPSO asks Chancellor Merkel and Minister Maas to intervene at the EPO

    IPSO has written to German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Minister Heiko Maas to exert their influence in the governance bodies of the European Patent Office with a view to end the unacceptable treatment of staff representatives at the EPO. IPSO cannot accept the firing of elected staff representatives. Please find here below the original letter in German and its English translation.

      11 December 2016: IPSO expresses support for colleagues at the European Patent Office Office, with Heardquarter in Munich

      Like many international organisations, the European Patent Office (EPO) has been given full autonomy to determine the legislative framework applicable to its staff. This creates a situation of high concentration of power, leading to risks of abuses.
      Since the arrival of Mr. Battistelli at the helm of the organisation, the level of tensions within the EPO has met unprecedented levels. The matter has been widely reported in the media (SZ, FAZ, die Welt, Le Monde, Médiapart, Libération, De Volkskrant, NRC, El Mundo etc, see also a reportage broadcast by BR on 21 March 2016).

      A good overview of the toxic atmosphere has been published by Politico in August 2015.
      Unfortunately, since then the situation has deteriorated further. IPSO is deeply saddened to learn that Mr Battistelli dismissed two union officials and elected staff representatives based in Munich, In January 2016. A third one was dismissed on 4th November, in The Hague without a fair trial. Two more union officials and staff representatives are currently being targeted.
      To try and de-escalate, the Administrative Council of the EPO adopted resolution CA/26/16 in March 2016, requesting Mr Battistelli to revise the applicable rules to ensure that justice be done and seen to be done. The Council required that, in the meantime, no further investigations or disciplinary proceedings be carried out against staff representatives and union officials. We are informed that Mr Battistelli unfortunatley ignored the resolution, thereby reinforcing the impression that the President of the EPO can act with full impunity.

      As representatives of the trade union of ECB Staff, we would like to express our solidarity and support to our colleagues dismissed by Mr. Batistelli. We are not willing to accept the situation as it stands, and are currently considering further action to support our dismissed colleagues with the objective to reinstate them in their function at the EPO.

        18 November 2016: European Court of Auditors’ special report on the SSM validates IPSO’s claim of ECB understaffing of 27 March 2015

        The European Court of Auditors (ECA) issued a special report on the new EU banking supervisory system.

        In its press release the ECA states:

        “This was the ECA’s first audit of the ECB’s operational efficiency with respect to the SSM, and the audit findings are mixed, say the auditors. They found that in setting up the SSM the ECB has not analysed supervisory staffing needs in the necessary detail, and that current staffing levels are insufficient.”
        IPSO’s alerts to the ECB’s decision making bodies on ECB workload culminated in an open letter on 27 March 2015.

          26 October 2016: European Parliament’s ECON Committee organises hearing on European Central Bank governance and staffing issues

          Upon IPSO´s initiative, the ECON Committee of the European Parliament organized a hearing on HR matters at the European Central Bank (ECB) which took place on 26 October 2016. See here the video of the hearing on the European Parliament’s website.

          The hearing was split in two separate sessions, one with ECB management, represented by the ECB’s Chief Services Officer Michael Diemer and the Director General of the ECB’s HR function Anne-Sylvie Catherin and another one with staff and union representatives Carlos Bowles (Staff Committee) and Johannes Priesemann (IPSO).

          Staff and Union Representatives insisted on the constitutional anomaly that the ECB acts as the employer and legislator at the same time. They flagged the resulting large imbalance of powers at the European Central Bank and the excessive interpretation of independence. They flagged operational risks deriving from the precarious contracts, the role of personal ties in appointments and promotions and excessive workload. They called for intensified parliamentary scrutiny, full transparency of the law-making materials in ECB’s own labour law setting and the adoption of good practices as regards staff participation in decision-making (see the introductory statements attached from Johannes Priesemann and Carlos Bowles) and requested the recruitment of long-serving temporary agency staff rather than the outsourcing of the work to external service providers.
          Parliamentarians, on their part, questioned the ECB managers about the ECB’s decision to adopt the staff rules different to those of other EU institutions, the lack of staff participation mechanisms for the ECB as a European Institution, the generalized use of temporary contracts for permanent tasks, and the ECB´s cherry-picking application of the German legislation regarding the use of temporary agency staff. Staff and Union Representatives, and in their view also the members of Parliament, so far, were not convinced by the ECB’s answers to these questions.
          The MEPs present agreed on the need to follow up on these issues and are working on a possible way forward to intensify the European Parliaments scrutiny in these matters.

          The ECB Representatives’ presentation can be seen in the video linked above.



          14 July 2016: IPSO organises a solidarity action for long-serving termporary agency staff at the ECB

          Breaking News, Burning issues

          ECB staff calls for sound staffing and equal pay at the ECB

          Today, 14 July 2016, upon a call of IPSO, the International and European Public Services Organisation, c. 120 staff of and persons working for the European Central Bank (ECB) gathered for a solidarity action for equal pay and sound staffing at the ECB. IPSO, the union representing the interests of persons working for the ECB, organized the event in support of c. 200-250 temporary agency workers at the ECB. These persons face an uncertain professional future after long-time assignments to the ECB. The action aimed to support the union in talks with the ECB on agency work at the ECB. The ECB’s management has for the last 10-15 years relied on temporary agency staff for permanent tasks. This was due to an understaffing of the ECB for which the Governing Council, the ECB’s top-decision-making body was and is responsible.

          The practice of (ab-)using one and the same temporary agency staff member for a permanent task is now coming to an end due to the foreseen changes to the German law governing temporary agency work. As a result, long-serving temporary agents at the ECB may face the risk of unemployment. IPSO and the staff request that the colleagues on permanent jobs are taken on the ECB payroll and not sent back to their temporary work agencies where they may face unemployment. Johannes Priesemann, President of IPSO, said: “The use of agency staff is not proper for a European institution. The long-serving colleagues need to be taken on board and be compensated for unequal pay by the ECB.”

          IPSO also claims that the draft German law on temporary agency is not in line with the EU Directive on temporary agency work. The proposal to allow the assignment of temporary agency workers to permanent tasks on a revolving basis for 9-months assignments with unequal pay infringes the Directive and the principle of European law that indefinite labour contracts are the European standard. The action aimed to support the union in the informal talks with the ECB on agency work at the ECB and to support the union’s claims.

            27 March 2015: IPSO released an Open Letter to the NCBs on the staffing situation at the ECB

            IPSO, the sole trade union recognised at the ECB, has sent an open letter to the National Central Bank governors of the Eurosystem requesting a rectification of the staffing situation at the ECB. 1,000 permanent full time positions should be established to bring the ECB workforce to sound and orderly contracts and offer as many as possible colleagues of the "informal workforce" the chance to get an orderly contract and work perspective. IPSO sees a severe and structural conflict of interest at the highest level of the Eurosystem as the root cause of the deplorable staffing situation. IPSO encourages the governors to address the situation and to respect the spirit of the commitments taken by the European governments when they decided to create the euro.

            See also international press echoes, linked from "IPSO in the media"

            IPSOnomics

            IPSO offers its members and interested colleagues a series of lunchtime seminars.
            These aim at sharing alternative thoughts and provide inspiration in our work at the ECB on topical issues.

            Speakers have been:

            Jendris Alwast on the Legitimation of Europe,
            Philipp Degens on Alternative Monetary Concepts,
            Christoph Deutschmann on Capitalism as a rentier society – consequences of Piketty's analysis,
            Guillaume Duval on "The German Model of Staff Participation: Is it a key factor of success for the German economy?",
            Heiner Flassbeck on economic alternatives to address the crisis,
            Joseph Huber on the present money system and concepts of sovereign money",
            Paul Jorion on 10 measures to change the world,
            Michael Kumhof on the Chicago plan revisited,
            Daniel O'Neill on sustainable economics "enough is enough",
            Tomas Piketty on capital in the 21st century,
            Tomàš Sedlácek on the economics of good and evil,
            Henri Sterdyniak on "Changing Europe",
            Pavlina Tcherneva on "Money, Sovereignty, and Monetary regimes and also on The Job Guarantee: Toward Fiscal, Monetary and Social Policy Integration in the Eurozone",
            Antoine Vauchez on the question "is independence compatible with democracy?"

            IPSOnomics 9 February 2015: Thomas Piketty discussing with ECB staff (Foto: A. Petty)

            Initiatives, Events, Activities

            14 January 2016

            IPSO President speaks at a semiar at the European Parliament
            "Thinking of a democratic and accountable central bank"

            14 July 2015

            A delegation of IPSO meets with Members of the European Parliament to discuss social and labour issues at the ECB. Further cooperation has been agreed.

              12 March 2015 IPSO participating in Panel Discussion on ways out of the crisis

              On 12 March 2015 IPSO participated in a panel discussion organised by the German DGB (TU federation). IPSO called for a better internal governance and more democracy in the ECB and Europe.
              Austerität (Sparpolitik) oder Investitionen? - Wege aus der Krise Europas
              Podiumsdiskussion am 12. März 2015, 18.00 Uhr, DGB Haus Frankfurt am Main

              Seminar on Fundamental Social Rights

              On 23/24 June 2014 IPSO organised, together with Union Syndicale Fédérale, the European Federation of Public Services Unions and the Hugo Sinzheimer Institut a seminar on Fundamental Social Rights in the EU.

                IPSO bids farewell to Jean-Claude Trichet

                On 27 October 2011 IPSO General Secretary Wolfgang Hermann bids farewell to the parting ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet.


                  IPSO General Secretary Wolfgang Hermann - Jean-Claude Trichet (Foto: Adrian Petty)

                  International women's day

                  IPSO regularly celebrates the international women's day. As one follow-up Christine Lagarde has been invited to the ECB by the ECB and IPSO on 19 March 2013, speaking on diversity. Soon after the Executive Board adopted targets for women in managerial positions at the ECB. Note: at present there is only one woman a member of the 25 person strong ECB Governing Council. In its General Council there is no woman at all...

                  IPSO itself is still struggling to bring about more gender diversity in its board!

                  Case law of interest

                  IPSO supports its members and stands up for its rights in court when necessary. Access to courts for European and international civil servants is costly and cumbersome. IPSO observes that proceedings at EU and international tribunals are slow, formal rules tight and often surprising, legal instruments limited and specialised legal representatives rare. On top we sense a bias to rule in favour of the institutions.

                  Decisions of the Tribunal for the European Civil Service and of the European Court of Justice involving the ECB as a party are accessible on the internet via the link here.

                  See our list of cases

                  Selection of court cases

                  European Court of Justice says ECB infringed fundamental rights of staff

                  IPSO won its court case at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) against the European Central Bank (ECB) on December 13th ("T-713/14 – ECJ").
                  IPSO claimed information and consultation rights for temporary agency staff assigned to the ECB. In the past the ECB has made use of agency staff for permanent and recurring tasks without these having a safe chance of being taken over into a regular contract. This is not in line with letter and spirit of the rules on temporary agency work and has been denounced by IPSO for years.
                  The case was about the ECB’s Executive Board decision creating a fait accompli behind the back of the trade union while the union had been working together with the ECB HR function in a task force created by Board member Peter Praet on new rules for agency staff assigned to the ECB. While the report of that task force had not yet been finalised and submitted, in the summer of 2014 the ECB’s Executive Board decided to limit the assignments of assistants at the ECB to two years. This decision was taken without any consultation or prior information and was thus challenged in court by IPSO.
                  IPSO claimed that as a trade union their rights to be informed beforehand and consulted had been infringed. These rights are the weakest rights that a trade union has, and at the ECB they are the only rights that are granted. These rights are enshrined in Article 27 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, stated in the EU directive 2002/14 and mentioned more concretely in a “Memorandum of Understanding” between the ECB and IPSO.
                  The ECJ decided in favour of IPSO and declared the ECB decision to be null and void. The bottom line being: “It can be concluded that the ECB did not consult the applicant without having previously consulted the applicant although the subject matter of the decision was the topic of the working group and did not wait for the report of the task force to be informed and consulted of the applicant's rights In accordance with Article 27 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as more precisely defined by Directive 2002/14, implemented by means of a framework agreement, as the applicant is a trade union organization representing the persons concerned, as well as extended to the temporary workers by convening the working group.”
                  This is a success for the trade union because it strengthens participation rights of staff.
                  IPSO claims that user undertakings who employ temporary agency staff must hire temporary agency staff if they have proved themselves on permanent positions over a period of two years. If this is not done the market split caused by the installation of temporary labour would miss their mark, creating a class society in the labour market. This is not the Europe for which IPSO stands. The ECJ ruling however did not discuss this aspect as it was not part of the case.
                  The decision in question was taken by the ECB ahead of changes expected in German law which have been passed by the Bundestag in the meantime. IPSO is disappointed by the changes in the German Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz (AÜG) because these clearly weaken the rights of temporary workers instead of strengthening them. IPSO has doubts whether the changes in the AÜG comply with European directives.
                  IPSO will refer to this ruling in the future when, as happened before, the information and consultation rights of ECB staff are not fully respected. IPSO hopes to have helped the change of corporate culture at the ECB towards a better balance of powers.

                  Discrimination of Staff Representatives

                  In the cases F‑94/14 ("Bowles vs ECB") and F‑94/14 ("Seigneur vs ECB") the Tribunal of the EU Civil Service ruled that the ECB's circular on additional salary advancements specifying conditions for ad personam promotions were discriminating ECB Staff Representatives by excluding them de facto from the possibility to fulfil the eligibility criteria.
                  In their judgments, the judges stated that the circular was illegal because it puts the plaintiffs in a discriminatory position due to their activity of staff representative (see point 60 in the original French text):

                  "60. [l' article de la] circulaire est illégal, dans la mesure où cette disposition a placé le requérant dans une position discriminatoire […] en raison de son activité à plein temps en tant que représentant du personnel".

                  The cases were also reported by the French and the German press as two instances of discrimination (see for instance Article in Les Echos).

                  These cases are the second and third occasions that the ECB is condemned by the Tribunal for discrimination against Staff Representation.

                  As a background: Only 10 candidates – and no female – stood for the 9 positions available at the last Staff Committee elections at the ECB in 2014. A post-election survey later revealed that a high number of potential candidates have been discouraged from standing by fear this might negatively impact their career prospects.

                  At the EU Commission, where the career of staff representatives is aligned with the average career of EU Commission staff, 700 candidates stood for the 108 staff representative positions available at the last elections.

                  Fundamental Social Rights

                  In the case Case C-579/12 RX-II ("Strack vs EU Commission") the Court ruled on the impact of the Charter of fundamental rights of the EU on the unity and consistency of EU legislation. This is an important decision indicating that the Court will under certain conditions control formal EU law by the Charter of fundamental rights of the EU.

                  Staff Representatives' Right to Information and Consultation

                  IPSO has brought a case claiming that the ECB infringed the fundamental right to information and consultation. This case is pending.


                  Imposed Change to the ECB's Pension Plan

                  The ECB changed substantially the pension rules applicable to staff members. More than 150 staff members challenged the decision by an appeal to court. This case has been lost in the first instance and the appeal against the ruling of the Tribunal for the Civil Service is to date still pending.


                  Equal Treatment

                  German staff members of the ECB claimed equal treatment with respect to the right for an education allowance and won the case in the first instance.


                  Process to decide on individual salary increases "ASBR"

                  Media

                  IPSO in the media

                  Articles on IPSOs work for ECB staff

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                  Press releases

                  What we have said in the past

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                  IPSOtv

                  Watch IPSO in short video snippets

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                  IPSO in the media

                  Working with the media and gaining public attention to our cause is sometimes indispensable for IPSO as a last resort.
                  Surely we aim at fostering our statutory objective with such contacts.

                  9 December 2014 Stresstest bei der EZB

                  Hoher Arbeitsdruck in der Europäischen Zentralbank (EZB) geht zu Lasten der Gesundheit der Mitarbeiter. Zu diesem Ergebnis kommt die EZB-Gewerkschaft IPSO und schlägt Alarm. Sie warnt vor hohen Burnout-Risiken. Interview mit Jörn Paulini
                  hr-iNFO am Dienstag, 9. Dezember 2014

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                    Press Releases

                    7 June 2017 - IPSO solidarity action for hiring of IT colleagues by the ECB

                    On 7 June 2017, IPSO, the International and European Public Services Organisation, together with DGB, the German trade union federation, and EU trade union federations USF and EPSU called for a solidarity action for ECB’s IT staff and temporary agency staff. The objective of the action is to stop the outsourcing of IT services at the ECB and to denounce the lack of respect of the ECB for staff’s participation rights. The manifestation took place in the vicinity of the ECB in Frankfurt, at the Paul-Arnsberg-Platz. 200 or more participants attended and showed their solidarity and support for the claims.
                    IPSO deplores that for many years the ECB has used temporary agency staff for permanent work. Many colleagues have been working for the ECB for more than 5 years and not few for more than 10 years for worse conditions, worse than their ECB colleagues. They face permanent pressure to lose their jobs. Many come from Southern and Eastern Europe.

                      27 March 2015 IPSO released an Open Letter to the NCBs on the staffing situation at the ECB

                      IPSO, the sole trade union recognised at the ECB, has sent an open letter to the National Central Bank governors of the Eurosystem requesting a rectification of the staffing situation at the ECB. 1,000 permanent full time positions should be established to bring the ECB workforce to sound and orderly contracts. IPSO sees a severe and structural conflict of interest at the highest level of the Eurosystem as the root cause of the deplorable staffing situation. IPSO encourages the governors to address the situation and to respect the spirit of the commitments taken by the European governments when they decided to create the euro.

                      17 March 2015 European trade unions call for more democracy and a...

                      European trade unions call for more democracy and a better balance of power for Europe and the ECB/Eurosystem
                      (in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian)
                      IPSO and a number of European Trade Union Federations issued this press release on the occasion of the inauguration of the New ECB Premises calling for more democracy and a better balance of power for Europe and the ECB.


                      2015-03-11: IPSO action at the ECB

                      26 March 2014 Unacceptable situation at the European School Frankfurt

                      26.03.2014 - IPSO Press release: unacceptable situation at the European School Frankfurt
                      Please find attached a press release from the European Central Bank (ECB) staff trade union IPSO entitled "ECB Staff Union calls on ECB to use its influence to end overcrowding at the European School Frankfurt".

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                      IPSOtv

                      Public video presentations (Adobe Flash Player required)

                      3 June 2009 Strike covered by BBC News

                      Staff at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt have gone on strike over pension reform and conditions.

                        2 April 2009 2nd Blue Ribbon Protest

                        More than 500 ECB staff members gathered under the Euro symbol in Frankfurt on 2 April 2009 to protest about the democratic deficit and lack of negotiation with the recognised social partners.




                          2009.03.04 1st Blue Ribbon Protest

                          IPSO organised the first ever demonstration of ECB staff on 4 March 2009.




                            2008.10.01 The Process

                            A short feature explaining the proposed changes to the ECB's Disciplinary and Appeal Procedures. The (then draft, now adopted) rules refer to vague internal standards; the conditions or situations giving rise to disciplinary proceedings are not defined. As a consequence, staff may inadvertently find themselves triggering disciplinary procedures without ever having the possibility to know in advance the rules they have been accused of breaking.




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                              Social media

                              IPSO is not yet present on social media platforms (twitter, FB, etc).

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                              Imprint

                              Editor
                              IPSO International and European Public Services Organisation
                              Heinrich-Bingemer-Weg 15
                              60388 Frankfurt am Main

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                              The International and European Public Services Organisation (IPSO) maintains this website to provide information about its work and objectives. IPSO has aimed to keep the content of this site up to date and correct. To our regrets we can not accept responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the content and material on this website.

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                              Contact

                              Telephone
                              Johannes Priesemann (President):
                              +49 69 1344 7438
                              Carlos Bowles (Board Member/Press relations):
                              +49 69 1344 7138

                              Email
                              mb-ipso@ecb.europa.eu

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                              Heinrich-Bingemer-Weg 15
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