EU staff grievance goes to Irish court

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Series Details Vol.7, No.24, 14.6.01, p6
Publication Date 14/06/2001
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Date: 14/06/01

By David Cronin

Allegations that an employee with the European Commission's Dublin office was unfairly demoted are due to be considered by Ireland's High Court tomorrow (15 June).

Sarah Barnes, whose pay and conditions are in line with domestic rates rather than the more lucrative ones enjoyed by fully-fledged EU officials, is seeking an injunction against plans to move her from her current accountancy job to work on public information.

The institution's 15 staff in Dublin are almost evenly divided between fonctionnaires and 'local agents'. Last year, Barnes was a leading figure in a dispute over her contention that local agents frequently perform the same tasks as EU officials, and should therefore have the same entitlements.

Brussels officials point out, though, that local agents are not obliged to have the same language skills as fonctionnaires. "And there's nothing to stop them from doing the concours [the EU civil service exam]," explained one.

Peter Doyle, head of the Commission's representation in Ireland, said he was unable to comment on the case.

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