Bulletin 33

Autumn 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)
In the bulletin of November 2005 I wrote "If we are on the road to a good compromise, we must nevertheless stay vigilant until the CERN Council decides." As you know we have supported 79% more than our partners in the aim of resetting the Caisse and that will come again this year. It is not a question of accepting and we have done and will do what is necessary to obtain a decision of the TAOIT.

Under these conditions we need the GAC with even more participation of pensioners and volunteers to collaborate in the Committees activities. I am sure that you will do your best to encourage participation and candidates at the elections.

At our next Christmas drink on 29 November, to which you are cordially invited, we can underline the questions of pension indexation.

Philippe BERNARD

Editorial

(Original French)
Another summer passed, and I address once again, not without a certain nostalgia, a few words to you.

Nostalgia indeed for those who have left us, leaving us with only memories.

Sympathy also for all among you and elsewhere in the world who are fighting to overcome illness or their conditions of life. Our thanks go to UNIQA and the CHIS for their help and support, and to our colleagues active and retired, who 'keep a weather eye open' for us.

Finally there are all the others who have enjoyed sunshine on a healthy body, sometimes in distant and exotic places and who hope that this will continue.

This Bulletin will, as usual, give a 'weather forecast' for the near future. Above all, support our Committee when it asks you to demonstrate our solidarity.

Jean-Marie THOMAS

Committee Activities

(Original French)

March to october 2006

The Committee has 22 Members after the November 2005 elections and the co-opting of R. Caillau and J.-C. Gouache. There were 6 meetings during the period covered by this Bulletin, with an average attendance of 15 Members, under the presidency of Philippe Bernard. The principal matters treated were:

Statutary Activities

1. Elections

The Statutes require the partial renewal of the Committee, as the mandates of 13 of the 22 Members will expire 31 December 2006.

Those concerned:

The Committee thanks them for their work during the previous two exercises and also certain of them for previous work.

As the mandates of the auditors of accounts will expire end 2007, no election to these posts is needed this year.

The call for candidates has been sent out. In response 11 candidates
have come forward, enough to maintain the effectiveness of GAC and assure the future.

GAC General Assembly

The General Assembly took place 29 March 2006 with 300 members present and 165 represented. The minutes of this meeting have been distributed to all members.

Relations with the Staff Association

As last year, our contacts with the Staff Association mostly dealt with pension Fund problems. The Association insisted on the need for a strategy leading to a return to the equilibrium of the Fund, essential to guarantee the pensions of present and future pensioners, and rendering official an (at least partial) indexation of our pensions according to the cost of living.

However some sacrifices will be necessary to an equitable degree by each of the three parties concerned in the finances of our Fund: the retirees drawing pensions, the contributing active members, and the contributing organizations (CERN and ESO). This, as you know, has not been the case, with the pensioners carrying more than their share of the burden of restoring the equilibrium of the Fund.

Our Committee would have approved the strategy had the financial sacrifices been equitably shared. Since this was not so, an appeal has been lodged with the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO claiming that the sacrifice asked of pensioners should be reduced in the same proportion as in the case of the two contributing parties.

For an account of this matter, see the article of J-F Barthélemy and F.Wittgenstein.

Other articles by delegates in this Bulletin give information on our Health Insurance and on the Working group on pensions guarantees.

Relation with retirees present and future

At the five permanences held during this period, three GAC members replied to questions concerning the retirement of present and future pensioners, sometimes from people preoccupied by particular problems - see the article devoted to the permanences.

Our web site with J. Allaby in charge is now in operation.  Its address is easy to remember:

http://www.cern.ch/gac

You have received the invitation to our Christmas gathering on Wednesday 29 November at 16h30, our next chance to meet together

Jean-Claude GOUACHE

Permanences

(Original français)

March to September 2006

Each first Tuesday of the month, the permanence welcomes pensioners and those approaching retirement.

Since the publication of Bulletin no. 32 last Spring, 25 colleagues have come to consult us.  Most of the questions concerned financial matters and the reimbursement of medical expenses by UNIQA.

Sometimes a visitor comes to tell us how she or he has solved a problem. We strongly hope that the permanance, thanks to these exchanges, may become an information centre of use to everybody. We remind you all that discussions with us are individual and strictly confidential, so please don't hesitate to visit us, even if you have no particular problem.

Permanance sessions are announced in the Bulletin of the Staff Association, which appears like the CERN Bulletin, each fortnight.

The permanance team wishes you all a happy Christmas and new year and, above all, good health.

René BARTHELEMY, Françoise BEETSCHEN-BUTTAY, Mario CESELLI, Cynthia SHARP

Miscellaneous

An NGO (ndlr: www.ingenieursdumonde.org) is looking for benevolent teaching staff to teach to practical techniques of construction and repair of electronic equipment in a school-workshop in Arusha (Tanzania) tos students with only theorical knowledge.

To permit an efficient dialog with the students, a good knowledge of English is required.

Transport, lodging and charges will be paid by the NGO.

The duration of teaching duties in Arusha shall be fixed to one month or more.  For more detailed information, please contact Yves Ligier.

Obituary

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

Henri BONNIN ex-PS 25 février 2006
Claude FRAISSE ex-MT 14 mars 2006
Yvon BRU ex-TS 21 mars 2006
Georges BANUELOS ex-MSC 2 avril 2006
Gilbert PELVAT ex-PS 27 avril 2006
Willy BRUGUIER ex-ST 26 mai 2006
Finn SCHOU-OLSEN ex-ADM 2 juin 2006
Charles BERTUZZI ex-ST 10 juin 2006
Jean COMTE ex-AT 15 juin 2006
Charles MÜLLER ex-SB 4 juillet 2006
Giovanni BERARDI ex-PS 9 juillet 2006
Mechthild DE CLAVE-BOUHABEN ex-PE 13 juillet 2006
Paul TRARIEUX ex-TIS 17 juillet 2006
Roy BERRIDGE ex-EF 20 juillet 2006
André GAILLOUX ex-ST 25 juillet 2006
Michel SPÖRLI ex-ST 30 juillet 2006
Edmond John WATSON ex-EP 1er août 2006
Paul SCHWARZ ex-ST 12 août 2006
Gaspard STRIGINI ex-SB 12 août 2006
Bengt HEDIN ex-PS 24 août 2006
Candido GUBIAN ex-EP 26 août 2006
Jean-Pierre SCHEFFRE ex-AB 17 septembre 2006
Jacques CHARON ex-EST 24 septembre 2006
Denis CAZORLA ex-SB 30 septembre 2006
Wolfgang SCHNELL ex-SL 2 octobre 2006

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

Paule BESSON (veuve d'Emile, ex-ISR) 26 février 2006
Georgette JOURDAN (veuve de Jules, ex-ST) 27 février 2006
Angeles BUESO GIL (veuve de Julio MIDAL-MILEGO, ex-LEP) 25 mars 2006
Ana MENAZZI (veuve de Silvano, ex-SB) 12 avril 2006
Angele PERRET (veuve de René, ex-SB) 15 mai 2006
Marie-Louise CAND (veuve de Fernand, ex- ?) 1er octobre 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)

We report here on the main developments during the first half of 2006 affecting our health insurance scheme (CHIS).

Changes to the CHIS rules

the application of the new administration circular no.14 has meant some modifications to the CHIS rules. Firstly, the matter of 'consolidation' in the event of professional illness or accident: when no improvement in the patient's condition can be expected from a treatment or a cure, the relevant expenses will no longer be reimbursed at 100% but at the normal rate. Also, following the Swiss law concerning health insurance 'LaMal', the list of 'exclusions from medical consequences of dangerous (hazardous?) activities' will be suppressed: victims of such accidents will be
reimbursed for their medical expenses, but will not be able to claim invalidity indemnities.

CHIS in the future

The CERN Council has decided that a study will be carried out to establish how CHIS will be financed in the long term. The decision should be made during 2007. As we have already pointed out, for 2007, the foreseen deficit will be covered by an increased franchise' of 200 CHF and by an equal contribution by the Organisation. This increase is planned only for 2007 as a temporary
measure until the decision on long-term financing is taken.

Establishment of a hostel for older dependent persons

Such an establishment (Etablissement d'Hébergement pour Personnes Agées Dépendantes (EHPAD)) is under construction in Onex: a draft convention will be transmitted which would give us the use of five beds in this establishment as from 2008. This is particularly interesting in vue of the difficulty in gaining admission to such establishments in the local Geneva and French areas.

Conventions

The new agreement with the Cantonal Hospital is in use if not yet signed. As for the Hospital de la Tour, no decision on the renewal of our agreement for 2007 has yet been taken. The current agreements with the Clinique Générale Beaulieu and La Ligniere will remain in force for 2007; the others are to be renegotiated.

Statistics for the first half of 2006

UNIQA statistics indicate an appreciable reduction in hospitalisation costs compared with the same period in 2006, maybe a stastical fluctuation, but with an increase in Doctors' fees of 10%. This is attributed by UNIQA to the general use of TARMED by Genevese doctors. Overall we see a reduction in reimbursements of 1,4% compared with the same period in 2006, and an increase of 4,1% compared with the first semester in 2004.

UNIQA

UNIQA has brought into use a new informatics system of which the commissioning proved more difficult than foreseen. This led to
delays of up to 4 or 5 weeks in the payment of reimbursements. The situation now seems near normal.

Jean-Paul Diss, Pierre Lazeyras, Robert Muzelier

The Pension Fund

CONCERNING PENSIONS — A SURVEY (11 October 2006)

1 Our appeal to TAOIT

In our previous Bulletin we informed you of our intention of bringing before TAOIT an appeal based on the violation of the principle of equity. The appeal was lodged at the beginning of May. CERN replied mid-August and we responded mid-September. We now await a further response from CERN. If the affair is not too protracted, we may expect a decision early next year. Otherwise we shall have to wait until July 2007.

2. On measures taken by CERN Council

In order to re-establish the financial equilibrium of a Fund in structural deficit, just two measures can be envisaged: increasing the income and/or reducing the expenses. In our case this implies increasing the contributions of the active members of the Organisation and/or reducing pensions. The set of measures proposed by the Governing Board of the Fund contains certain recommendations. Notably one proposal foresees increases in the contributions of active members (+ one percentage point) and of the Organisation (+ two percentage points), and another proposal foresees a reduction of the adaptation of pensions with respect to inflation based on a coefficient established by the actuary of the Fund in each actuarial review, that is to say every three years. For the moment this coefficient has been fixed at 82.5% of inflation until the next review at the end of this year, of which the results will be known only in 2007. This coefficient was applied at the beginning of 2006: our pensions were adapted by 82.5% of 1.2%, that is, by 0.99%. It is clear that the two recommended measures (on the one hand an increase in contributions, on the other hand a reduction in the adaptation of pensions) are inseparably linked if the Fund is to remain in equilibrium. However the Director-General has insisted that that either the contribution of the Organisation be reduced (which would necessitate a corresponding reduction in the adaptation of pensions), or that the Member States increase the CERN budget. Nonetheless Council has decided to reduce to 79% the increase in contributions, while leaving the adaptation of pensions unchanged. In the short term this may seem favourable for us, but let us wait to see what happens now!

3. If we do not take action

At the moment the coefficient of adaptation our pensions is only 82.5% of the inflation rate. As the results of the next actuarial expertise will not be known for some months, it is likely that this figure of 82.5% will be used again in adapting our pensions on 1 January 2007. And after that?

To restore the Fund to equilibrium it was necessary that the contributions of the active contributors and of the Organisation be increased by 1 and 2 percentage points respectively, and that the pensions adaptation be only 82.5%. As we have seen, these two elements cannot be separated: if the income of the Fund (contributions) is reduced, the outgoings (pensions) must likewise be kept down, that is, the adaptation of pensions must be reduced. In addition one might expect that for 2008 and following years, the coefficient of 82.5% will be considerably reduced. In his case the equilibrium of the Fund will be achieved with some 80% of the burden borne by the pensioners!

4. The Fund during the first half of 2006

Who could have anticipated the recent irregular behaviour of the stock markets? The stock market index lost some 12% of its peak value between 9 May and 13 June, before picking up at the end of July. Three factors dominated the markets: rampant inflation suggesting a probable continuation in the rise of interest rates, while a slow-down in the USA and the tense situation in the Middle East argued rather in favour of a lowering of rates. Whichever argument was favoured, the short-term outlook was not optimistic for stock markets. Thus funds exhibited mediocre performance and improved by only 0.5%; one ninth of the equivalent performance last year. Let us hope that the improvement in the markets will give better results in the second half of this year.

5. To change the subject: taxes in Geneva

Good news for Geneva taxpayers: mid-September the Conseil d'Etat decided to re-introduce the 10% reduction on pensions. The approval of the Grand Conseil is of course still awaited, and, since this is a
matter concerning taxes, a popular referendum will be necessary. We may reasonably hope, however, for appreciable reductions in cantonal and commune taxes as from 2007.

Jean-François BARTHÉLEMY, François WITTGENSTEIN

SCC Working Group on Pension Guarantees

(original French)

The CCP Working group on pension guarantees is advancing but slowly in its work on the different aspects of pension guarantees judged to be indispensable for the creation of a Foundation in the event of the dissolution of CERN.

With the recent repayment by CERN of its debts to the Pensions Fund, an important problem has been settled, but of course important questions remain:

Even though the Group's work progresses slowly, the questions to be addressed are sensitive, particularly in the present circumstances. However we find little interest in this matter on the part of active Fund members.

René BARTHELEMY, Edith DELUERMOZ