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Maybe you Have been a member of GAC for a while, then I need not tell you that this Bulletin has the same structure as earlier ones. It informs you about the activities of the GAC Committee and its delegates to several working groups in which the CERN Staff Association is represented.
Maybe you are a newcomer, and this is your first Bulletin. Let me make a few introductory remarks.
The Bulletin is meant to inform CERN pensioners about pensions, health insurance and other important matters (even taxes) and about personal matters brought to our attention through official or private channels, for example in our monthly Permanences.
In particular, I think of information about the death of former colleagues or their spouses, also given in this Bulletin1. You might come across names which remind you of old days when, during your professional life, you were close friends with someone of whom you have not heard for years. If you wish to write a word of sympathy to the bereaved family, you can send it via the CERN Pension Fund, which has the address but is not authorised to give it to third parties.
At the end of this Bulletin you find a section entitled Useful CERN Services and Addresses2. One of these addresses might be helpful to you. If you know of an address which might be of interest to other ex-Cernois, please inform us; we shall consider including it in the next Bulletin.
Best wishes to you and your family,
I would like to draw your attentionto the following three points, treated in more detail later in this Bulletin.
At the close of this year, I send to you and your families all my best wishes for happiness and good health.
The Committee has numbered 20 members since the elections during the first half of 2002 (see the previous Bulletin for the election results). From May to November the Committee has met five times with an average attendance of 16 members, under Philippe Bernard as President. The following are the most important matters considered:
The new Committee has completed the first six months of its two-year mandate.
GAC is an integral part of the Staff Association, of which it constitutes an electoral college. It must therefore take note of the revision of the Association's Statutes, currently under preparation and scheduled to come into force in 2004. While until now GAC had one delegate to the Staff Council for each 200 members (presently 7 delegates in total), the new Statutes foresee 9 delegates per college, irrespective of the number of members. Our delegates may henceforth be chosen amongst the GAC Committee members by the Committee itself without a special election as at present. We have therefore to revise our Statutes accordingly, and to review our planning for elections. Our new Statutes will be presented for approval at the April 2003 General Assembly of GAC.
The problem of the imposition of the CRDS levy on our members living in France, brought up at the last General Assembly, is being followed up by our delegate at the Staff Council, J.–F. Barthelémy, with help from a lawyer specialized in fiscal law, Maître S. Agarrat. You will be informed of developments, for the moment positive, in this matter.
Our three Staff Council delegates, J.-P. Diss, P. Lazeyras and R. Muzelier, in their article analyse the impact of increases in the costs of health care on Health Scheme finances, particularly increases in hospitalisation costs. The ending of the convention with the Hôpital de la Tour, Meyrin, by CERN and by other International Organisations, following unacceptable tariff increases, illustrates the problems and highlights the need for vigilance in this field.
The usefulness of the new Long-Term Care Insurance is underlined by the fact that more than 50 cases have already been recognised.
Our delegates J.–F. Barthélemy and F. Wittgenstein describe in their article the annual performances of the Fund in the light of a declining stock market. Performance is consequently inferior to last year's, but not disquietingly so unless the weak markets persist for some time.
The matter of correcting the failure to index pensions in conformity with the indexation of CERN salaries at the preceding five year review, brought up at the Governing Board of the Pension Fund by G. Brianti, is being persued by our new President Ph. Bernard. At its last meeting the Governing Board decided by a small majority not to grant our demand. We are now seeking what might be our best strategy.
Our delegates to the SCC Working Group on Pension guarantees E. Deluermoz and R. Barthelémy are considering in conjunction with the Staff Association how to revive the actions started and then abandoned by this group.
Three Committee members, F. Beetschen-Buttey, M. Ceselli and J.–P. Dauvergne, have made themselves available at four permanences to reply to pensioners' questions. Financial problems are most frequently raised. See the relevant article for more details.
After the summer intermission, the Permanence reopened on Tuesday 3 September in the conference room of the Staff Association, building 61, to welcome, in private and confidential conditions, present and future pensioners.
Some twenty visitors have recently turned up, mostly with questions about financial matters.
France: Jean-François Barthélemy wrote for the CERN Weekly Bulletin of 30 September 2002 an article treating questions put by pensioners having claimed at the appropriate time reimbursement of the CRDS but still waiting for the refund.
In Switzerland the financial situation from canton to canton. You are therefore recommended to contact the financial service in your canton of residence, or to consult one of the brochures available on the market.
Alas, a problem mentioned several times concerns access to the CERN site by spouses of a deceased former member of CERN. We reprint below an article published in the CERN Weekly Bulletin of 28 October 2002. Please will anyone who still has problems in getting onto the site contact us.
We recall that the Permanences are held on the first Tuesday of the month from 14 h until 17 h, with the exception of January, July and August. In private discussions we attempt to suggest courses of action to solve problems or when possible give an adequate reply ourselves. We have no automatic rights nor specialist knowledge enabling us to substitute ourselves for the appropriate cantonal, departmental or governmental authorities.
We are always happy to see you at the Permanences, whether you have a problem or not.
Good health and a happy new year to all of you.
We have learned with regret of the deaths of our former colleagues given below:
|Georges LEPINE||ex-SB||19 June 2002|
|André MONNARD||ex-SB||27 June 2002|
|Morton WADDUP||ex-PS||14 July 2002|
|Armand CYVOCT||ex-AT||16 July 2002|
|Emile SIGAUD||ex-PS||17 July 2002|
|Kenneth WIGGINS||ex-ECP||22 July 2002|
|Lucien GOURDIOLE||ex-CN||27 July 2002|
|Jean-Noël COLLET||ex-ST||28 July 2002|
|Claude BOVET||ex-SL||10 August 2002|
|Paul RICHARD||ex-LEP||17 August 2002|
|Eddy LEROY||ex-DOC||3 September 2002|
|Michel CASSARD||ex-ST||19 September 2002|
|Emmanuel ANDERS||ex-PS||20 September 2002|
|Fred ASNER||ex-SPS||25 October 2002|
|Marcel STUDER||ex-SL||28 October 2002|
|Jacky JUNG||ex-SB||15 November 2002|
|Georges SARKISSIAN||ex-FI||20 November 2002|
and of the death of other beneficiaries of the Pension Fund:
|Kirsten JOHNSEN||20 June 2002|
|Renie, Lady ADAMS||30 September 2002|
|Alice COBLANS||26 Octobre 2002|
On behalf of all members of GAC, the Committee sends its sincerest sympathy
to the bereaved families.
The loss of a spouse is a painful event which can leave a widow or widower distressed by many responsibilities for which she or he has not been prepared. The GAC Committee invites them, if they wish, to contact one of its members or go to one of the Permanences, to get help and assistance, of course in strictest confidence.
Anyone wishing to propose a short tribute for a retired colleague to be included in a future GAC Bulletin is invited to take or send this to one of the Permanences. Tributes, not exceeding 250 words, should be approved by the family of the deceased.
Bulletin No 25 (June 2002) included detailed information on the financial state of our Health Insurance Scheme, on the difficulties arising in our relationship with the Hôpital de la Tour, Meyrin, on long-term care insurance and on various administrative matters.
As usual, the present Bulletin confines itself to a brief account of the developments since the last Bulletin. Publications such as the Bulletin of the CERN Health Insurance Supervisory Board (CHISB) have given or will shortly give precise information on important points.
Since June 2002 the CHISB has been preoccupied above all with mastering the costs of hospitalisation, which account for 40% of all reimbursement costs. Revision of the rules governing reimbursement of hospitalisation fees may thus bring about a sizable reduction of total cost in this area. The CHISB considers that it should be possible to encourage patients to use high-quality establishments charging more moderate fees. The overall long-term aim is therefore as follows:
Bulletin CHIS No 12 gave news of the situation arising from the resiliation of our convention with the Hôpital de la Tour together with information on alternative possibilities existing in the Canton of Geneva. We shall shortly extend this information to cover neighbouring French departments.
Concrete measures already examined have been agreed by the CERN Administration, by the Staff Association, by Member State delegates to the Tripartite Forum on Employment conditions (TREF) and by the Finance Committee. They still need the approval of the December CERN Council meeting.
These measures envisage a 100% reimbursement rate of medical hospitalisation costs in public hospitals against a 90% rate in private hospitals, this latter for a room with two or more beds. Any supplement for board in a single–bedded room will be at the insured's personal expense. Precise details of these new arrangements will be published after approval by the CERN Council.
The value of the long-term care insurance has been amply demonstrated. At 18 November 2002, 75 cases had been evaluated; 9 were judged not dependent, 17 slightly dependent, 20 moderately dependent and 29 seriously dependent. 14 cases (including those of 3 children) are still pending. An actuarial examination will take place after this first year of the scheme.
Measures to exclude this person from the Health Insurance Scheme are underway.
(This article closely follows the summaries published in the CERN Weekly Bulletin of 24 June and 28 October, 2002)
In the following we inform you on the meetings of the Governing Board of the Pension Fund Nos 108 (April 2002), 109 (June 2002), 110 (September 2002) and 111 (October 2002).
The meeting was essentially devoted to the examination and approval of the draft 2001 Annual Report of the Pension Fund and to the allocation of the year's results. (You may obtain a copy of the draft annual report from the Administration of the Fund, Bldg.5, 1–030, tel. +41/ 22 767 9194). In the latter connection, the Governing Board decided, on the basis of the recommendations by the two firms of actuaries involved in the last actuarial review, that the amounts previously referred to in the accounts as reserves should be considered as part of the Fund's capital.
Among the other items examined during the meeting, the Governing Board approved a new strategic allocation for investments, which essentially includes two new categories of assets, high-yield bonds and shares in unlisted companies, each to represent 2% of the Fund's overall assets.
It also decided that "Swiss equities" should no longer be described as such but included in the European portfolio.
Real estate, which had previously been restricted to 10% of overall assets, was increased to 15%
The meeting was devoted
The Governing Board first heard a report presented by B. Strange and F.-X. Douin of JP Morgan Fleming Asset Management on currency overlay. This system has been in operation since 1997 and has fully achieved its objective of allowing the Fund to diversify its investment positions outside Switzerland while reducing portfolio risk.
The ordinary meeting held on the afternoon of the same day was mainly devoted to the examination of a number of technical amendments to the Rules and Regulations of the Pension Fund, essentially relating to the four following matters
The meeting was mainly devoted to matters relating to the adjustment of pensions for 2003. The Governing Board decided to recommend the Director-General to propose to the Council to apply a rate of indexation of 0.6% to pensions, fixed amounts and allowances with effect from 1 January 2003, which corresponds to the increase in the cost of living in Geneva for the period from August 2001 to August 2002.
In view of the situation with regard to financial markets, the Chairman of the Investment Committee provided an update on the position as at the end of August, showing that since the beginning of the year the Fund's overall assets have declined by between 5% and 6 %.
There is little activity to report - just one meeting this year - because of the workload in the relevant CERN services.
In the meeting held 9 April 2002, the Governing Board of the Pension Fund rejected by a very thin majority a motion to assume, for a period of 12 months and within a ceiling already fixed, the costs of the preparation of a report by legal experts for publication in an international law review (see last GAC Bulletin).
Preparation and publication of this report is still urgently needed. The GAC Committee therefore envisages to participate in the costs of preparation.