Bulletin 32

Spring 2006

  1. President's Remarks
  2. Editorial
  3. Committee Activities
  4. Permanences
  5. Obituary
  6. The CERN Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS)
  7. The Pension Fund
  8. SCC Working Group on Pension Guarantees

    President's Remarks

    (Original French)
    As was the case last year, there was a good participation in the Committee elections.  All the candidates who had arrived at the end of their mandates were reelected, and I thank you for this.  We gladly welcome two new Committee members : Horst Wenninger and Christian Roche, while Olivier Bayard did not wish to stand as a candidate.  As Vice-President he was a prominent Committee member, always available.  Due to his efforts the new Statutes were formulated and have proved very effective.  We take this opportunity to offer him our grateful thanks.  Anticipating the next elections, we have coopted Jean-Claude Gouache.

    You will find reports on all our activities in this Bulletin, particularly in the matter of pensions indexation.

    More detailed questions may be raised on these matters at our forthcoming General Assembly, to which you are all cordially invited.

    Philippe BERNARD

    Editorial

    (Original French)
    Our new Committee is installed and illustrates, as a French politician said (if my memory serves me right !), 'change in continuity'.

    Happily so, since the defence of our pensions, and more generally of our capitalized pension system, will need this year much thought, pragmatism and negotiation.

    In particular the contractual policy of 'the lemon squeezer' (recruit, extract everything possible, reject), practised by the Organisation, as elsewhere, hardly encourages our new colleagues in an attitude of solidarity towards us, and understandably.

    Our interests differ, so we shall need a resourceful and pragmatic approach, together with our partners, above all with the Staff Association, to ensure the benefits of the Fund until the demise of the last pensioner, without alienating the active staff, more concerned with the short term.

    Jean-Marie THOMAS

    Committee Activities

    (Original French)

    October 2005 to February 2006

    The Committee, with 20 members in 2005, including one co-opted member, and 22 in 2006 with 2 coopted members, met 4 times during this period, with an average attendance of 17 members, under the presidency of Philippe Bernard.  The following are the most important matters discussed:

    Statutary Activities

    Election results and membership of the new Committee

    The present Committee exists formally since 1 January 2006, and results from the Autumn 2005 elections held to fill the posts of 8 members (including the Vice-President and 4 Delegates to the Staff Association) whose mandates were expiring, and to fill a position left vacant in the previous elections.  The remaining 11 members, including 5 delegates, were elected in 2004.  Also concerned in the elections were the 2 auditors of accounts.

    A call for candidates for the two election was sent out to GAC members early in September 2005.  Ten candidates came forward for the 9 positions in the Committee : 7 of the 8 members stepping down and 3 new candidates.  As for the auditors, the 2 previous members and 2 new candidates came forward.

    Votes were counted by 18 tellers on 21 November 2005 and the following results declared :

    Participation : 55,6% (903 votes from 1650 voting bulletins distributed)

    The new Committee, with 7 members newly elected and10 members elected in 2003, met for the first time 2 December 2005, 3 members being indisposed and excused.  The acting President, Philippe Bernard, formed the New Committee, confirming the 18 members from the previous Committee in their functions.  He proposed H. Wenninger as the new Vice-President, replacing O.  Bayard who did not offer his candidature.  C. Roche wished to take on the defence of pensions.  The President and Committee thank O. Bayard for services rendered during his long period in office.

    The new Committee unanimously approved Ph. Bernard's proposal to coopt J.C. Gouache, who retired too late to offer himself as a candidate for election, as adjoint secretary, and again to coopt R. Cailliau as informatics expert for our website (cf. Art. 14 of the Statutes).  Stemming from these decisions the organigramme of the new Committee is as follows:

    Voix % des suffrages exprimés
    élus comme membre du Comité: (Nota : NC) = Nouveau candidat)
    M. Diss Jean-Paul 844 93.5%
    Mme Deluermoz Edith 839 92.9%
    M. Lazeyras Pierre 820 92.9%
    M. Wittgenstein François 787 87.2%
    M. Thomas Jean-Marie 786 87.0%
    M. Wenninger (NC) Horst 739 87.0%
    M. Allaby James 727 80.5%
    M. Ceselli Mario 704 78.0%
    M. Roche (NC) Christian 698 77.3%
    N'est pas élu comme membre du Comité:
    Lepagnot (NC) Jacques 553 61.2%
    Sont élus comme vérificateur aux comptes:
    M. Collomb Raymond 551 61.0%
    Mme Morice Felicitas 460 50.9%
    Ne son pas élus comme vérificateur aux comptes:
    M. Rosset (NC) Denis 364 40.3%
    M. Arn (NC) André 330 36.5%

    Note: the Commissions mentioned are put in place by the Staff Association.

    Relations with the CERN Administration

    This year our contacts with the CERN Administration have centred around the problems of preserving our Pensions Fund and the problems of pensions indexation.  Our President was able to meet the Director General and the President of Council on the eve of our demonstration of 16 December 2005 on the occasion of the 135th Council session.  He was able to explain the reasons for our dissatisfaction and concern, and reassure them that we wished this demonstration to be calm and dignified.

    Relations with the Staff Association

    The Association has vigorously maintained the urgency of establishing a strategy designed to redress the deficit of the Pensions Fund, sharing equitably the sacrifices asked of the concerned partners (active staff members, retirees, member States).  This strategy, described in an appendix to this Bulletin, has been approved by the GAC Committee, who invited GAC members to support the Association on the occasion of the general day's leave taken on 30 November 2005, which the Association proposed to active staff.  There was a good turn-out among retired people living near CERN.  While the CERN management has accepted the validity of and necessity for the strategy, it decided to apply only the measure affecting the pensioners (ie non-indexation of pensions) until the completion of LHC.  The GAC Committee strongly objected to this decision, as much for its unfairness as for its inadequacy in reducing the Fund deficit.  In order to make the Council more aware of this problem a demonstration was organised to meet the delegations on the opening of the 135th Council session.  This demonstration, to which we were able to invite pensioners only by email, took place calmly, as hoped.  The Committee is continuing to examine lines to follow, particularly with the ILO (see the article on this subject).

    Our 9 delegates have participated in the commissions established by the Staff Association concerning pensioners.  The organigramme above indicates in which areas we participate.

    For further details, please consult the articles on the Health Fund, the Pensions Fund and the Working Group on Pensions Guarantees.

    Relation with retirees present and future

    Four permanences staffed by 3 members of the Committee took place during the period covered by this Bulletin.  Questions concerning the retirement of future and new pensioners were treated, along with questions raised by pensioners with particular problems

    Our 'Christmas drink' was well attended by pensioners, for the pleasure of meeting old friends and colleagues.  In his address of welcome and good wishes, P.  Bernard mentioned the difficulties facing the Pensions Fund and invited pensioners to join in the demonstrations mentioned above.

    The yellow report of the presentations given during the pensioners' day of the 50th CERN anniversary was distributed to all GAC members.  We thank C.E.  Vandoni for taking in hand this publication.

    The GAC website is now fully operational .  The Committee thanks R.  Cailliau whose expertise was essential in establishing public access to the highly protected CERN informatics system.  We are setting up a data base of retirees who use email in order to have available rapid and economical communication with as many members as possible.  We gratefully thank Mrs.  P.Lazeyras, wife of our colleague, for the help she has given in establishing a more systematic means of reading this mail.  We strongly encourage those members who have not yet sent us their email address to do so.

    Farewell from the editor of this section

    After 8 years as secretary, then as vice president of GAC, when I was charged with reporting Committee activities in this Bulletin, I shall now bid you farewell.  I thank you for your confidence, renewed at each election, and I am content to see most competent new members joining us and ensuring the continued effectiveness of the Committee in these difficult times.  I would like to assure new retirees that working with the Committee is not an overwhelmong task, but permits working with erstwhile colleagues in a convivial manner.  Don't hesitate to present yourselves for election to Committee membership in the next elections at the end of 2006.

    Olivier BAYARD

    Permanences

    (Original français)

    October 2005 to February 2006

    The usefulness of the permanences is confirmed by the number of visits we receive from the increasing number of pensioners.

    About 30 people came to visit us on the first Tuesdays of November and December 2005 and February 2006, some to say 'hello' and tell us of their retired life, but most came to discuss problems.

    The questions and problems raised by different visitors were largely similar.

    We remain available at the next permanences scheduled for Tuesdays 7 March, 04 April, 2 May, 13 June, 5 September, 3 October, 7 November and 5 December 2006.

    Françoise BEETSCHEN-BUTTAY, Mario CESELLI, Cynthia SHARP

    Obituary

    We have learned with regret of the deaths of our former colleagues named below:

    Bruno COMMANDEUR ex-MT 14 novembre 2005
    Hawa GRAND'HOMME ex-SPL 18 novembre 2005
    Frank H.  DOUGHTY ex-EP 26 novembre 2005
    Gilbert VUFFRAY ex-SB 23 janvier 2006
    Georges DONAT ex-SB 29 janvier 2006
    Ernest MARKART ex-EF 29 janvier 2006
    Jean-Paul GENDRAS ex-FI 1 février 2006
    Charles GOETSCHMANN ex-SB 5 février 2006
    Paul BROULAND ex-FI 9 février 2006
    Bernard BIRON ex-PPE 14 février 2006
    Pierre BERNARD ex-LHC 21 février 2006

    and of the death of other beneficiaries of the Pension Fund:

    Lotti ROUEL (veuve de Jacques, ex-SB) 3 novembre 2005
    Yvette PIRON (veuve de Henri, ex-ST) 16 novembre 2005
    Marie BOURGES (veuve de Marcel, ex-PS) 3 janvier 2006
    Jean-Bernard FAVRE (veuf de Lucienne, ex-PE) 14 janvier 2006

    On behalf of all members of GAC, the Committee sends its sincerest sympathy to the bereaved families.

    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.

    The CERN Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS)

    (Original French)

    The main points to report to you at the beginning of this year 2006 are the following:

    CHIS Board membership:

    Th.Lagrange will replace G.Lindecker, who is retiring, as Administration representative.

    CHIS accounts at the end of 2005

    The 2005 exercise yielded an excess of contributions over reimbursements of 2.13 MCHF.  Reimbursements showed an overall increase of 5.5% over 2004.  We must emphasise that the increase in hospitalisation reimbursements amounted to 12.6%: this item now accounts for more than 40% of our total expenditure on claims.  This large increase results from the return to the Hôpital de la Tour of many of our assurees after the signature of our convention with this establishment, where total reimbursements have increased by 80% (90% for pensioners), with a corresponding reduction in other establishments (Cantonal Hospital, Beaulieu, etc.).  The Hôpital de la Tour is still, comparatively, very expensive.

    Declaration of family circumstances (DCSF)

    1700 completed questionnaires distributed at the end of December have been received.  They must now be manually analysed.

    Conventions in force at the beginning of 2006

    Our conventions have been renewed with the Clinique Général Beaulieu, the Clinique de la Colline, la Métairie, la Clinique de Genolier, la Linière, la Clinique de l'OEil, the Cliniques Jolimont and de Montana, as with the HUG (hôpital cantonal).

    The Hôpital de la Tour has proposed inacceptable increases in its tariffs.  At the moment of writing, discussions are proceeding and an agreement may be envisaged.

    Perspectives for 2007

    The extrapolation of costs and contributions indicates that we shall be unable to avoid a global review of contributions and reimbursements for 2007, faced with the explosive increase in costs of hospitalization.  It is too early to be more precise.

    We will keep our retired CHIS members up to date with developments.

    Long term care

    During 2005 long term care reimbursements have been paid in 33 cases of mild dependence, 32 cases of medium dependence and in 24 cases of severe dependence, and during the year the evaluation of 23 new cases has been requested.  As at 31 December 2005, in all 71 cases were registered, some members being no longer dependent, and unhappily, others having died.  Daily indemnities paid in 2005 amounted to 1139 KCHF while 402 KCHF were paid for paramedical needs.  We hope that in 2006 daily indemnity allowances will be revised and increased.

    Jean-Paul Diss, Pierre Lazeyras, Robert Muzelier

    The Pension Fund

    CONCERNING PENSION INDEXATION

    According to the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation, the 'ATILO', adjustments of various periodic payments should occur in a stable, predictable and transparent manner.  Now as concerns pensions, for (too) many years the adjustments have been made in an ad hoc, quite opaque fashion, and generally run against the interests of the pensioners.  Our dissatisfaction is therefore reasonable.

    However in December 2004, after deciding a 0% indexation of pensions (despite an inflation rate of 1.7%), the CERN Council stated (in a letter we all received from the Pension Fund Administrator) that 'This decision represents an initial conservatory measure in reaction to the financial position of the Fund revealed by the latest actuarial review.  Several studies are currently in progress aimed at defining a package of measures to redress the actuarial balance of the Fund and which will concern all parties, i.e.  the active staff, the beneficiaries and the Organizations'.

    This is a first step in the right direction : if the Fund runs into financial problems, everyone concerned, active staff, pensioners, and the Organisation, will « put their hand in their pocket » to redress the situation.  This is progress.

    In July 2005 a 'Package of Equilibration Measures' was established by the Governing Board of the Fund, and approved by all members of Council.  Among the measures we find, notably:

    1. a 2% increase in the contribution of the Organisations (CERN and ESO);
    2. a 1% increase in the contribution of the active staff;
    3. confirmation of the 0% pension indexation of 1 January 2005;
    4. pension indexing at 82.5% of inflation; this figure of 82.5% to be reviewed at each actuarial examination of the Fund (once each 3 years).  Note that this figure of 82.5% was not fixed arbitrarily, but is the result of due analysis and consideration;
    5. should the cover of the Fund be adequate, a means of preserving the purchasing power of pensioners could be envisaged;
    6. a ceiling of 8% on the accumulated loss of the purchasing power of each each pensioner (1.7% on 1 January 2005) to be included.

    This package of measures was approved by the CERN Management.  However, for budgetary reasons, the Director General, unable to see how the measures can be applied in their entirety before 2012, proposed that the increase in the CERN contribution be reduced from 2% to 0.42%, and that of the active staff from 1% to 0.21%.  This reduces by 79% the increase in contribution of two of the three parties concerned.  No change is proposed for the third party, the pensioners, who will receive 82.5% of the inflation rate of 1.2%, that is 0.99%.  CERN Council accepted these recommendations.

    Thus in order to restore the Fund to equilibrium, a set of measures was proposed, asking each of the three social partners to participate.  Each partner recognised the necessity of the measures and agreed to accept the proposed increases in contributions (in the case of the Organisation and the active staff) and reductions in payments (in the case of the pensioners).  The increased contributions by the Organisation and active staff have been reduced by 79%, but the reduction in payments to pensioners stays unchanged.  Clearly the principle of equity has not been respected.

    Now the principle of equity is a general legal principle, applicable to all parties.  We have therefore decided on legal action asking, in the name of equity, that our sacrifice be reduced in the same proportion as those of CERN and of the active staf, i.e.  a reduction of 79%.  The calculation shows that such a reduction would lead to an adjustment of 1.34% (instead of 0%) at 1 January 2005, and an adjustment of 2.51% at 1 January 2006 (instead of 0.99%).

    As you will remember, last year we appealed against the 0% indexation of pensions, claiming an indexation equal to the inflation rate of 1.7% of January 2005.  Our present request is different (see the previous paragraph).  As we cannot maintain two concurrent appeals having different objectives in the same area we have dropped the first.  The procedure for the second appeal is already under way.

    You will also recall that the first appeal was supported by more than 1150 pensioners.  They may be assured that we shall not launch another internal call for support as the impact of the first call is clearly evident.  However, maybe when the affair is under consideration by the ATILO, we shall ask you to name yourselves as intervener, that is to request that the judgement of the tribunal be applied to our case.  But we have some time, and do not judge this necessary for the moment.

    Apart from strictly financial matters, an important point of the “Package of Equilibration measures” is to be kept in mind: one can hope that new measures concerning adjustment of pensions will lead to stable, predictable and transparent results.  At the moment the Governing Board of the Fund can recommend practically whatever it likes, the Director General and the CERN Council may likewise decide whatever they like, and there is effectively no legal way to contest these decisions.  Now the interests of the Governing Board, the organism at the root of pension indexing, do not necessarily coincide with the interests of the pensioners, who have only one representative at the meetings as observer, without the right to vote! Maybe, and we say firmly maybe, this will change.

    We shall of course keep you up-to-date with any developments.

    Jean-François BARTHÉLEMY, François WITTGENSTEIN

    SCC Working Group on Pension Guarantees

    (original French)

    The working group of the SCC on pension guarantees is continuing its examination of the different aspects of the guarantees judged indispensable for the creation of a Foundation in the event of the dissolution of CERN.

    Questions concerning the consequences for the Pension Fund of the withdrawal from CERN of one or more member States during the lifetime of the Organisation, and also the guarantee that in the event of dissolution CERN would honour its debts to the Fund, have been treated in a report written by three experts in international law.  The working group must now formulate proposals for TREF based on this report.

    The maintenance of the levels of pensions paid by the Foundation and the preservation of purchasing power of beneficiaries are also under consideration, together with pensioners' health insurance rights.

    The work of the Group is advancing only slowly.  The subject is delicate, specially so in the present circumstances.  In addition, we note but little interest in this matter on the part of active CERN staff.

    René BARTHELEMY, Edith DELUERMOZ