ECON hearing on ECB 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.