Bulletin 39

Autumn 2009

  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

The President did not have that much to do this year due to the excellent work of the Secretary and all the very active Committee members.

The financing of the Pension Fund and the future of our health insurance remain at the centre of our Committee discussions.  You will find more details in this report.

As for each year, it remains for me to thank the members who continue to participate in our work with determination and to greet our new members who have just been elected or co-opted.

Horst Wenninger

Editorial

(Original French)

A few hours before the ballyhoo of its start-up, our LHC struck a false note!  Finally, after meticulous controls, much rethinking and revision and significant improvements, it has just made its first successful steps towards a very promising future.  I know that many of you are thrilled with this sudden turn of fortune.

What has struck me in particular during these last few months is the open and cooperative attitude of our Director General:  meeting with our Committee and the Staff Association and lending an ear to his peers:  looks like we have found in him a guide and leader:  nothing like it to recharge the batteries of the staff.  Thank you Director General.

Even though we are retired, CERN and its future is dear to us:  this period of time in front of us will remind us of the spirit of yesteryear and makes us optimistic about the future.

Jean-Marie THOMAS

Committee Activities

(Original French)

April to November 2009

The Committee comprised 20 members following the Autumn 2008 elections, taking into account the coopting of Françoise Beetschen-Buttay and Monique Hausermann, as well as the untimely deaths of R. Muzelier and J. Allaby, with Robert Cailliau continuing as web expert and the seat allocated for one of our ESO colleagues remaining vacant.  The Committee met six times during the period covered, with an average presence of 16 members, chaired by Horst Wenninger or Philippe Bernard.  The most important points dealt with by the Committee were the following:

Statutary Activities:

Results of the elections and composition of the new Committee

According to the Statutes we proceeded to partial renewal of the Committee in December 2009 since the term of office of 11 members of the Committee ends on 31 December 2009  This concerns :

The Committee thanks them for their help during the two preceding electoral periods and for some of them during earlier electoral periods.

We also needed to renew the auditors this year since their mandate comes to term at the end of 2009.

This concerns:

whose mandates will end after the approval of the accounts for the year 2009, at the 2010 General Assembly.

A call for applications to become members of the Committee and auditors was sent on 14 September 2009.  Fifteen candidates (including 11 outgoing) applied as members of the Committee and two as auditors;  the voting bulletins were sent to the GAC-EPA members on 26 October 2009 requesting a reply by 20 November 2009.  The votes were counted on 25 November 2009 and it is fitting to acknowlege the dedicated involvement of
the scrutineers for this important task.

These are the results:

Votes % of votes
BLIN Antoine 554 65
BOSSEN Gerrit Jan 405 47
BEETSCHEN-BUTTAY Françoise 620 72
BUHLER-BROGLIN Manfred 632 74
DELUERMOZ Edith 761 89
DISS Jean-Paul 781 91
HÄUSERMANN Monique 576 67
JACOBS David 396 46
LAZEYRAS Pierre 749 88
NAUDI André 613 72
SALOMON Guy 311 36
SANTIARD Gunilla 428 50
THOMAS Jean-Marie 629 73
WENNINGER Horst 762 89
WITTGENSTEIN François 757 88

Are elected as internal auditors:

Votes % of votes
ROEBUCK Eddie 741 89
SALOMON Guy 743 87

Rate of participation: 47% (866 votes/856 valid out of 1827 ballot papers distributed)

More on the new structure of the committee in February 2010.

General Assembly of the GAC-EPA

The Ordinary General Assembly was held on 25 March 2009 with about 320 members present and 190 members represented.  At the start of the meeting Mrs. Felicitas Pauss passed on a welcome message from the Director General, who wished to assure us of his support for our preoccupations.

Our Delegates representing the Pension Fund and the Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS BOARD) gave objective presentations of the situation of our two systems of social cover.

A report on the « permanences » as well as a report from our treasurer were also presented.

Read the detailed minutes.

Relations with the CERN Administration

At the General Assembly mentioned above, you were also informed about the seminars for the preparation of retirement held on 11, 13, 25 and 27 November 2009 under the guidance of the HR Department; certain subjects which have particularly preoccupied retired staff have been included in these seminars, for example the question of taxation in France and Switzerland.

We have also evoked our relations with the CERN Director General; a delegation of the Committee met again with the Director General on 20 May 2009 to inform him in detail of the preoccupations of the pensioners concerning our social cover (the Health Insurance and Pension Fund and their guarantees).

The problems encountered this year by some retirees and their spouses in entering the CERN site are one of the many subjects brought up at the «permanences» and this has led us to contact the services of GS Division, responsible for on-site access, to clarify the situation.  Read the details on the page "Rights and Duties".

Relations with the Staff Association

Our contacts with the Staff Association have again been mainly concerned with the problems of our Pension Fund and health insurance scheme.

If you look at the corresponding chapters of this bulletin hereafter, you will be able to read all about the state of health of our two social covers.

We would also like to mention here that the secretariat of the Staff Association offers us invaluable administrative support.

Relation with the retirees present and future

During the period in question there were six «permanences» run by four committee members in order to answer questions relating to retirement matters concerning future retirees and newly retired staff or specific problems of retirees.  The article below entitled «Permanence» gives all the details of subjects most frequently brought up during these «permanences».  Many of you attended our Christmas drink on 25 November, 2009, where you heard speeches from our President, the Director General (who told us how pleased he was following the start up of LHC), the Chairman of the Board of the Pension Fund, the Director of Administration of CERN as well as the new Director of the Pension Fund.

Following up on the series of conferences given in 2009 on cerebral aging, doctor J.-P. Diss also invited doctor Dina Zekry from the HUG to our little celebration.  She announced that a questionnaire would be sent in the near future to CERN retirees, members of the GAC-EPA, as well as an invitation to participate in a study on the theme of «Optimisation of Cerebral Aging».

Our web site, under the auspices of R. Cailliau, has benefitted from a serious upgrade.  Please take a look and let us have your comments.

Mario Danesin / Jean-Claude GOUACHE

Permanences

(Original français)

April to November 2009

The «Permanences» held on the first Tuesday of the month from 13:30 to 16:00 in the conference room of the Staff Association are always very well attended.

During previous months we received the visit of about 25 retirees, or of those about to retire.  Most of the problems raised remain the same, i.e. taxation in France.  We try to reply to these questions as correctly as possible, but nothing can beat direct contact with the tax authorities of each individual's area, i.e. where the tax declarations have to be deposited.  The cases are sometimes very specific and only these services can give the answer.  (For the record, some information was given in Bulletin no. 38).

This year some retirees, or their families, encountered problems in entering the CERN site.  We have thus obtained all the necessary information for you from the competent service in order to ensure that these problems do not recur:  consult your Rights and Duties.

Sometimes we are unable to answer certain specific questions, we try nevertheless to point you in the right direction.

We remind you that your feedback is essential. Please do not hesitate to get back to us.

Our goal is to help colleagues regarding problems they encounter in connection with their « CERN » existence and not personal problems (divorce, housing etc.).

The permanence team (Antoine, Françoise and René) send you their best wishes for good health in the coming year. Their office door is always open to you, so please come and say hello to us during one of the coming first Tuesdays of the month in 2010.

René BARTHELEMY, Françoise BEETSCHEN-BUTTAY, Antoine BLIN,

Obituary

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

Walter SCHMIDT (1936) ex-ST 19 May 2009
André SOLIOZ (1932) ex-MT 21 May 2009
Pierre GEROUDET (1951) ex-AT 7 June 2009
Leslie THORNHILL (1926) ex-SB 13 June 2009
Alfred CARRERE (1928) ex-EF 15 June 2009
Victor MEYER (1928) ex-AT 16 June 2009
Michel EVENO (1934) ex-TIS 22 June 2009
Marcel BLANC (1927) ex-PS 23 June 2009
Wolfgang BAUERSACHS (1927) ex-ESO 28 June 2009
Ours GAMBOTTI-CHOMETTE (1927) ex-LEP 5 July 2009
Costantino MASTANTUONO (1931) ex-ST 11 July 2009
Yves SAYOT (1941) ex-EST 15 July 2009
Maurice CARTIER (1938) ex-ST 19 July 2009
André RENOU (1936) ex-ST 23 July 2009
Paul TURCHET (1932) ex-ST 2 August 2009
Roland SCHULER (1933) ex-LHC 9 August 2009
Henri DELPRAT (1925) ex-LEP 11 August 2009
Stuart Harold SIMPSON (1934) ex-PS 14 August 2009
André METTAN (1921) ex-SB 20 August 2009
Bernard DUMOULIN (1926) ex-ESO 23 August 2009
Robert MARCHAND (1928) ex-ST 24 August 2009
Guy VON DARDEL (1919) ex-NP 28 August 2009
Klaus GOEBEL (1926) ex-TIS 1 October 2009
Manfred THOMECZEK (1933) ex-PPE 9 October 2009
Karl LEY (1937) ex-PPE 15 October 2009
Rolf PELLIZZARI (1930) ex-AT 20 October 2009
Robert RAPETTI (1930) ex-DA 24 October 2009
Jean GARADIER (1921) ex-HS 27 October 2009
Rinze DE ROOS (1949) ex-ESO 27 October 2009
André DELATTRE (1944) ex-AT 28 October 2009
Sten Erik MILNER (1931) ex-EST 30 October 2009
Mme GYGI-HANNEY (1933) ex-ST 31 October 2009
Jacques PRENTKI (1920) ex-TH 20 November 2009

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

Denise MENANT (1930) (widow of E. Menant, ex AT) 8 June 2009
Lucette EMERY (1935) (widow of A. Emery, ex-ST) 4 August 2009
Aline FURTER (1922) (widow of C. Furter, ex-SB) 10 August 2009
Gudrun HEDIN (1919) (widow of B. Hedin, ex-PS) 19 August 2009
Liesel VAN HOLTEN (1918) (widow of F. Van Holten, ex-NL) 30 August 2009
Arlette SOLIOZ (1940) (widow of A Solioz, ex-MT) 30 September 2009
Janetta AUGSBURGER (1920) (widow of J. Augsburger, ex-SB) 10 October 2009
Dörte BARNETT (1942) (widow of Ian Barnett, ex-SL) 13 October 2009
Francine VANDERHAEGHE (1922) (widow of G. Vanderhaeghe, ex-PE) 22 November 2009

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)

There follows new information concerning our Health Insurance Scheme.

At this time of year when the discussions on the fiveyearly revision of salary and employment conditions, including, as desired by the Organization's council, the revision of our health insurance scheme, enter into the concrete phase, it seems useful to remind ourselves in this Bulletin of the fundamental notions that are the basis of the CHIS.

CERN is its own insurer and ours is a scheme based on mutuality.  CERN has entrusted the management of this insurance scheme to an outside body, the Austrian firm UNIQA, which ensures the day-to-day running of the scheme, but UNIQA does not play the part of insurer as such.

The number of insured persons is about 12'500 and this has not varied greatly over recent years. The treasury of the CHIS has evolved favourably and at the end of the third quarter the fund's total (about 91 MCHF) had advanced by 7.1% since 2009-01-01.  It should be recalled that only about 46 MCHF of this is used for health insurance as such, an equivalent sum being devoted to dependency insurance.

The resources of the CHIS are derived from the contributions of those insured together with the Organization's contribution and totalled, for example for the first half of 2009, about 36.07 MCHF.  Expenditure for the same period came to 36.2 MCHF thus showing a deficit of about 0.150 MCHF.

Unfortunately this result, not too unfavourable in itself, was not followed by a similar tendency but on the contrary we noted at the end of the third quarter an appreciable increase in expenditure, principally that linked to hospitalization, which represents henceforth more than 46% of our medical reimbursements.  Compared to 2008 the difference is +16% for all reimbursements and no improvement is foreseen for the end of this year.  One of the causes of this increase is the fact that the HUG (Cantonal hospital) modified their invoicing system and now apply invoicing according to pathology (ADPRG).

In addition to this the amounts invoiced differed noticeably depending whether the beneficiary is taxed in Geneva or not.  The other principal items of expenditure showed doctors' fees to be more or less stable, pharmaceutical expenses to have increased by 4.7% and charges for analyses, radiology and various treatments by 10.5%.  We can naturally give you more detailed information on the year during our next annual general meeting.

Dependency insurance is without problem and the benefits are paid with no difficulty.  At the end of 2008 there were 118 beneficiaries from this insurance;  on 2009-09-30 there were a total of 150, of whom 43 were serious cases.

An actuarial study was carried out during recent months and its conclusions were presented to TREF in November.  On the basis of this work and also from its own deliberations, the CHIS Board must propose any amendments to the health insurance scheme at the beginning of 2010 in order for them to be included in the five-yearly revision.

Alain Burlet, Pierre LAZEYRAS, Jean-Paul DISS

The Pension Fund

What is happening?
State at 19 November 2009

Since our last report, the governing board (CACP) met on 13 May, 25 June, 29 July, 7 September, 28 October and 12 November. Nos. 18/20/22/27/33/36/38/40/42/44/46 of the CERN Weekly Bulletin: http://cdsweb.cern.ch/journal/CERNBulletin provides information regarding retirees together with the Staff Association's ECHO bulletin no. 88: http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1216167?ln=ca The address of the Pension Fund's site is: http://pensions.web.cern.ch/pensions/

The Pension Fund can be contacted by phoning +41 22 767 2742.

The General Assembly of the Fund was held at ESO in Munich on 7 September and at CERN on 9 September.  During the period under review, the CACP devoted most of its time to the preparation of its report following its analysis of the state of the Fund, including proposals for refinancing.  The document was transmitted to Council and Finance Committee last September. In May, the CACP recommended to Council the application of a new administrator who entered into office on 1 September.  The previous administrator has reached retiring age and will depart from office at the end of this year.

The CACP is preparing a new Web page with the help of an external consultant.

The reference index used to calculate the indexation of pensions was negative this year; the CACP recommended nevertheless to Council and Finance Committee to apply a value of 0% and to apply the rules to the cumulated and personal index of each beneficiary.  This proposal has been accepted by Finance Committee but remains to be ratified by Council at its December meeting.

The under-financing of the Fund and the poor performance of the Stock Exchange in 2008 have led to a considerable deterioration of the actuarial rate of coverage. It can be asserted on the whole that at present the payment of 1 CHF of pension is only two-thirds covered and that, if nothing is done (on the basis of the actuarial parameters proposed by CACP), this rate of coverage will fall below 20% over the coming 25 years!  In the present régime, the indexation of pensions is limited by the value of the fundng ratio of the Fund which is defined every three years after an actuarial study.  The next one will without doubt depend on the present financial situation and will be applicable to indexation as of 2011.  Lengthy discussions within the CACP will determine which actuarial model will be taken into account.  The graph below shows the evolution of the diminution of purchasing power of CERN and ESO retirees since 1 January 2005 until 31 December 2009, together with the evolution of this parameter on the basis of diverse suppositions of the inflation rate over the coming years as well as the abatement factor applicable to the calculation of indexation.

In an article in ‘Le Temps' on November 18, 2009, Emmanuel Garessus points out that inflation is not an illness but the result of a chosen policy and that it is difficult to predict when the recovery of the economy will be strong enough for governments to take the risk of increasing interest rates.

The following graph shows the historical evolution of inflation on the American market over a 200 year period. It is interesting to note that the period between two extremes is always shorter.

When should we expect the next crisis? In 2006, the Department of Management, Technology and the Economy of the EPFZ created a section devoted to risk which referred to a publication on the site http://mispricing.blogspot.com/2009/05/absolute-return-letter-may-2009.html which presented studies carried out by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) opening perspectives on the future evolution of the financial markets.  The following table can notably be found there:

This chart considers that for this group of countries some 10'000 billions worth of dollar bank notes should be produced. This estimate is however far below reality since, for the USA alone, the Federal administration now foresees doubling its basic hypothesis. The writer of the letter now considers therefore that the sums needed amount to between 15'000 and 33'000 billion dollars. These figures, beyond imagination, must be compared to total world capitalization, estimated at some 100'000 billion dollars broken down as follows:

These are the reasons why so much uncertainty prevails with regard to the future evolution of inflation!  Albert Einstein wrote : "The problems which we have created cannot be solved by the ways of thinking which have created the problems".

François WITTGENSTEIN, Jean-Claude GOUACHE

SCC Working Group on Pension Guarantees
part 2

(original French)

The Working Group resumed its activities on 10 June 2009.

A document was distributed, reminding us mainly of the context in which the Working Group was created (1976!) and its mandate, by virtue of which it must examine the following four points:

In this connection we were reminded that after the setting up by the Governing Board of the Pension Fund of Working Group No. 2 (WG2 – to be responsible for proposing measures to ensure the full capitalization of the Pension Fund), questions a), b) and c) are covered by or linked to the work of WG2.

It was thus decided at the CCP that, while waiting for the conclusions of WG2 on these questions, this Working Group should give priority to examining question d) relating to the health insurance.

The Working Group will then take into account the conclusions of WG2 on questions a), b) and c) in the reports and proposals it will have to submit to the CCP on the four questions mentioned above.

Several aspects must be studied relating to the health insurance question, notably the legal and financial obligations weighing on the Member States in the case of their withdrawal or dissolution of the Organization.

Each member of the Working Group was invited to make proposals on the specific points that he or she judged were important enough to be studied in relation to this task. A meeting is foreseen in the near future.

Edith DELUERMOZ, Carlo VANDONI

Petition

Association du Personnel / GAC-EPA Décembre 2009
Staff Association / GAC-EPA December 2009
Respect de la parité à la Caisse de pensions
Equal treatment in the pension fund
PETITION
In June 2007, CERN Council opted for a new governance of the Pension Fund and also appointed its Pension Fund Governing Board (PFGB) on the basis of equal representation, its President being a member of the “employer” college and its Vice-President a member of the “employee” college.

Today, Council is abusing this equal representation by excluding the representatives of the “employee” college when discussing matters pertaining to the area of competence of the whole of the PFGB. In this way, Council is showing disrespect for the “employee” college.

As a result, we, the signatories of this petition, therefore ask CERN Council:

1. To respect the equal representation, and, in particular, ensure that the Vice-President is always present when matters relating to the Pension Fund are discussed.
2. To give the consideration due to all the representatives in the PFGB for their work and expertise.

NOTE: if you want to sign and submit this petition, please use only a printout of the pdf version.