Bulletin 41

Year 2011

  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

Philippe Bernard, President of GAC for seven years, convinced me that all of us who spent a large part of our professional life at CERN should continue, on retirement, to consecrate some time to representing and defending the interests of the pensioners.  The active members of staff, just as much as the retired ones, actually depend on specific social protection:  the Health Insurance Scheme and the Pensions Fund of the Organization. The Council agreed that the CERN pensioners and those of ESO would have a seat and the right to vote in the Administration Council of the Pension Fund:  this creates obligations for us!

I have had the honour and pleasure of working with my colleagues on the GAC-EPA Committee for four years as President and I now consider that it is the right moment this year to hand over to a successor who will be named at the beginning of December 2011 after the elections.

The last and present elections will rejuvenate the Committee.  My thanks for the support and work done go to the outgoing members of the Committee, all after many years of active participation.

All those who continue the work and all the newly-elected members of the Committee, together with the Staff Association and CERN management, will watch over the Health Insurance Scheme and the Pension Fund, the only social protection for CERN staff members and pensioners — not an easy task in these times of financial crisis.  The good work of the active members and the success of the scientific programme of CERN will be our best insurance of a long-term future.

Horst Wenninger

Editorial

(Original French)

After several years (Bulletin 28, spring 2004) of formatting your Bulletin, I feel that I am in a rut and wish to hand over to someone with more initiative and competence, in particular concerning information technology.  But don’t panic; we will work together to ensure an evolution in keeping with your wishes.  Do not hesitate to let us know what you would like to see presented in your Bulletin.

“Fluctuat nec mergitur”:  our Organization continues its mission under the direction of competent and willing management:  cooperation, sometimes vigorous, among member state representatives, the management, the Staff Association and your Association, the extent of the results of scientific collaborations, can let us hope that we will traverse the present economic situation with minimum damage and maximum usefulness for science and its spin-offs.

In truth I believe that we can be proud of our Organization and its contribution to the development of science and humanity.

Jean-Marie THOMAS

Committee Activities

(Original French)

November 2010 to October 2011

You will have noticed that both this year and last year we did not publish a “Spring” Bulletin, the Minutes of the last Ordinary General Assembly containing the essential information on the questions touching on our social protection as well as various Committee activities.

The Committee, which at the end of 2010 consisted of 22 elected Members, one coopted Member and an information technology expert (the seat foreseen for the ESO pensioners being vacant), met ten times during the period covered, with an average participation of 17 Members, under the presidency of Horst Wenninger or a vice-president.  The most important points treated by the Committee are the following:

Statutary Activities:

Results of the elections, composition of the new Committee and allotment of functions

Committee

The present Committee has been meeting formally since 1 January 2011.  It was formed after the elections which were held in autumn 2010 in order to renew the mandate of eight members which would come to term on 31 December 2010.  In total nine candidates ran for office, of whom five were outgoing Members (four being elected and one coopted).  There were no elections in 2010 for auditors, the two who were elected having a mandate until the end of 2011.

The complete results of the elections and attribution of functions within the Committee were published in the Minutes of the Ordinary General Assembly of 25 March 2011.

The 2011 Committee comprises 20 elected Members, two coopted Members and one expert in information technology.  The ESO seat remains vacant but one of the coopted Members is a retired staff member of ESO.

Auditors

Following the resignation of one of the auditors, Eddie Roebuck, there remains only one functioning auditor up till the end of 2011;  this is Guy Salomon.  The retiring auditor was coopted as a member of the Committee where he acts as Assistant Treasurer.

Analysis of the Results

Here are some statistics which will let us appreciate better the results of the 2010 elections:

2011 Elections

You were informed by mail on 29 August 2011 of the call for candidates for the partial renewal of Committee Members for the years 2012-13.  At the end of this year there are 12 outgoing members; 15 GAC-EPA members have applied to be members, among whom eight are outgoing members, two being coopted.

This year we must renew as well the mandate of the auditors; two Members have applied including the only remaining outgoing Member.

The mail sent out for the elections themselves is dated 24 October 2011 and your replies, which we hope will be very numerous, should be received by 23 November 2011; the scrutineers will meet on 24 November in the morning and you will be informed of the global results the same day during the Extraordinary General Meeting to which you have been invited.

General Assembly

The Ordinary General Assembly was held on 25 March 2011 and was attended by approximately 320 members with 105 members represented by proxy.

After a global presentation by our President on the basic principles governing our Association and the election of a Chairman, the participants were requested to approve the Agenda and the Minutes of the 2009 AGM; these were approved unanimously.  Then followed the presentation of the Committee Members for 2009, the annual report, the Treasurer’s report and that of the auditors; these three reports were unanimously approved with two abstentions. The list of the 16 scrutineers was then presented followed by an unsuccessful call for new candidates. Finally our social security delegates presented their respective reports.

The meeting closed with a report on the monthly Permanences run by three of our Committee Members, a discussion on possible activities for the coming twelve months and finally a series of questions were answered.

The detailed minutes of this meeting were sent out to you on 16th May 2011; their approval will be on the agenda of the Ordinary General Assembly in 2012.

Relations with CERN's Management

Each time it is necessary to solve a problem concerning retirees, we contact the management of the appropriate department; our delegates, who run the monthly « Permanences », are familiar with these situations and often have to consult the Pension Fund, Health Insurance and its administration, Uniqa, etc.

In the course of the year we requested the help of the Director of Administration and the Head of Finance regarding a problem of bank charges to retirees resident outside Switzerland; the problem was solved.

HR division also informed us that another seminar in the Preparation for Retirement series would be held over four days, on 18 and 19 October and 15 and 16 November 2011; on 18 October one of our vice- presidents, Gertjan Bossen, participated with a presentation to future retirees on the GAC-EPA Association. It should be pointed out that these seminars are also open to retirees.

In collaboration with the CERN Medical Service, we maintained contact with the HUG mainly about subjects concerning health problems of the elderly, for example cerebral aging. The HUG would like to express their gratitude to the 838 CERN retirees who agreed to respond to the questionnaire concerning their state of health and activities within the context of the project «Optimise Cerebral Aging»; the first results of this study were presented during a conference held in CERN on 19 January 2011.

Relations with the Staff Association

Our Association is linked to the Staff Association (AP) through our Statutes and as such nine delegates of our Committee participate in the committees set up by the Staff Association, which mainly deal with how to protect our social security system.

This link to the Staff Association is sometimes the object of discussion; for example after dispatch to members of our information letter of 14 June 2011 concerning the evolution of the status of our pensions, our alignment with the views of the Staff Association was strongly criticised by the CERN management; as a result our President called an Extraordinary Committee Meeting in order to discuss the heart of the matter. Amongst the members present (17) nobody was for a separation from the Staff Association, even if a small minority considered that this possibility should not be neglected but that it was not conceivable for the moment. The presence of our delegates at the Staff Council and in the various groups and committees set up by the Staff Association enables our Association to make its point of view known on questions concerning retirees and to ensure that it is included in the proposals put forward by the Staff Association in discussions with the TREF and CCP, where the GAC-EPA is not represented. On this subject we believe that we should try and improve, through the Staff Association, our representation in the decision- making bodies mentioned above, as well as on the board of the Pension Fund, with a deputy. We are pleased that the Staff Council discusses subjects which are of importance to retirees such as pensions, health insurance etc. but they should not forget that the guarantee of pensions is equally important, and where they should be more militant.

In response to the call for mobilisation by the Staff Association and GAC-EPA we participated, together with the active staff, on 22 June 2011 in a day of action; the idea being to show our opposition to the drastic measures regarding the pensions of future staff members and future retirees proposed by CERN management without any real dialogue with the Staff Association.

Relation with the retirees present and future

Nine “permanences” run by three Committee Members took place during the period covered. The main preoccupations concerned tax declarations and income tax as well as various questions regarding pensions, health insurance reimbursements, place of residence etc. It should be recalled that the Association can only give advice but not intervene directly with the tax authorities and that members should contact their respective public service departments with the regulatory and legal texts with which the Association can supply them.

Many retirees responded to our invitation and attended the Christmas drink on 25 November 2010 as well as the informal meeting which preceded this drink.

Many of you participated in the action day on 22 June 2011 related above; indeed it is important that we show solidarity with present and future staff in the light of the deterioration of pension conditions envisaged by member states.

We hope you will respond positively to the invitation we sent you to our 2011 Christmas drink, which will take place on 24 November at 4.30 pm, preceded by an extraordinary general meeting as of 2.30 pm; we shall mainly cover modifications to the Statutes of our Association in order to be able to elect a committee member to represent ESO retirees; other general information will also be covered and questions answered.

Our computer expert Robert Cailliau is continually updating and improving our Web site which you are invited to look at regularly.

We also ask you, in order to be able to communicate with the largest possible number of members in case of urgency, if you have not already done so, to provide the GAC-EPA with your e-mail address by e-mail to gac-epa@gac-epa.org.

Mario Danesin

Permanences

(Original français)

December 2010 to October 2011

The PERMANENCES take place every first Tuesday of the month, except in January, July and August, in the Conference Room of the Staff Association, see the calendar.

These interviews are anonymous and personal.

Around 40 people came to see us—future pensioners, pensioners, spouses, etc.

Briefly – on questions asked

Fiscal problems in France, Switzerland or other countries. Many people during the period of tax declaration. Where to make one’s declaration, when and how? How to go about obtaining the pension acquired in different countries before coming to CERN?

Some questions on pensions after death.

Change of domicile after several years of retirement.

Problems with reimbursements from UNIQA.

What to do in case of severe dependence.

Some people were interested in the spin-offs from CERN’s research (medicine, astrophysics, LEP…).

Visits from future pensioners asking about the purpose of the CERN-EPA, how we can help them, how to join…

Questions on bank accounts in Switzerland (for people living in France).

“Courtesy” visits.

Thanks, by e-mail or visits, for the help we give.

Other questions, which are sometimes outside our field of competence but to which we give an attentive ear.

We always try to “direct or advise” the different people. This is not always possible to do during the “Permanences”, so we find things out by telephone, e- mail or other means.

It happens too that we go elsewhere in order to obtain information.

This is why we are asking you for feedback which will be useful for others. Your representatives in the “Permanences” wish you excellent health, lots of happiness with your family and friends and hope to see you soon.

René BARTHELEMY, Antoine BLIN, Gunilla SANTIARD

Obituary

We have learned with regret of the deaths of our former colleagues named below.  Please note that from now you can consult the entire list of deaths.

Noël CRETIN 1940 ex-PS 22 October 2010
Frank BLYTHE 1924 ex-EP 22 October 2010
Alberte MIELE 1914 ex-PE 3 November 2010
Alan GRANT 1939 ex-EP 4 November 2010
Fernand CONTANT 1924 ex-PS 10 November 2010
Antonio DE TENA 1928 ex-SB 14 November 2010
Robert GAYDON-CURTILLET 1925 ex-ST 22 November 2010
Ferdinand SCHENK 1923 ex-EF 26 November 2010
Lyda GAECHTER 1927 ex-DD 27 November 2010
Adriaan BLAAUW 1914 ex-ESO 1 December 2010
Bruno BIANCHI 1930 ex-ST 2 December 2010
Max BLAS 1921 ex-EP 2 December 2010
Prosper GROSPELLY 1916 ex-SB 6 December 2010
Roger GAVE 1942 ex-EST 7 December 2010
Catherina BUSI 1925 ex-EP 1er January 2011
Marcel LAMBLIN 1930 ex-EF 1er January 2011
Rolf KIESLER 1928 ex-EP 28 January 2011
Emilio PAGIOLA 1937 ex-EP 22 February 2011
Armand ALLARD 1929 ex-MT 27 February 2011
Simon VAN DER MEER 1925 ex-PS 4 March 2011
Giovanni DI TORE 1943 ex-EP 4 March 2011
Andri VITAL 1941 ex-ST 8 March 2011
Tom JENE 1931 ex-PS 17 March 2011
Jean DONDRILLE 1921 ex-SB 20 March 2011
Bernard BERTSCHY 1923 ex-SB 27 March 2011
René GAIME 1931 ex-ST 1 April 2011
Louis BROUWERS 1927 ex-PS 6 April 2011
Hans VON BALLMOOS 1920 ex-PS 15 April 2011
Daniel BERNIER 1935 ex-PPE 16 April 2011
Louis BONAZ 1925 ex-EF 18 April 2011
John VIEIRA 1922 ex-SB 19 April 2011
Ullrich URBAN 1950 ex-ESO 29 April 2011
Charles ARROT 1937 ex-ST 5 May 2011
Antoine KNEZOVIC 1944 ex-AT 12 May 2011
Daniel Jean SIMON 1937 ex-PS 2 June 2011
Michel ULDRY 1933 ex-PPE 14 June 2011
Alan MOORWOOD 1945 ex-ESO 18 June 2011
Angelo CECCATO 1932 ex-SL 27 June 2011
Günter KOUBA 1940 ex-AT 31 July 2011
Joseph BERNARD 1941 ex-PS 6 August 2011
Albert BARDIN 1934 ex-ST 20 August 2011
Andreas PETERMANN 1922 ex-TH 21 August 2011
Anne Félicity NICHOLSON 1943 ex-PH 23 September 2011
Roger MARTIN 1927 ex-PS 15 October 2011

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

Simone DUMOUCHEL (1926) (widow of Roland DUMOUCHEL, ex-SPS) 31 July 2011
Maria Pia GILI (1924) (widow of Aldo GILI, ex-ST) 30 August 2011
Rina GUBIAN (1934) (widow of Candido GUBIAN, ex-EP) 2 September 2011
Takako BERRIDGE (1928) (widow of Roy BERRIDGE, ex-EF) 27 September 2011
Louis BUSSAT (1913) (widower of Alice BUSSAT, ex-EF) 14 October 2011
Germaine RICHARD (widow of Paul RICHARD, ex-LEP) 23 December 2010
Colette DUTRANNOIS (1928) (widow of Jean DUTRANNOIS, ex-TIS) 30 January 2011
Marie-Claire RENAUD (1941) (widow of Claude RENAUD, ex-TIS) 13 February 2011
Elina REYNAUD (1919) (widow of Jean REYNAUD, ex-TC) 14 February 2011
Suzanne RAMM (1935) (widow of Emile RAMM, ex-FI) 7 March 2011
Noël BULLIARD (1927) (widower of Betty BULLIARD, ex-PS) 12 March 2011
Maria PRENTKI (1928) (widow of Jacques PRENTKI, ex-TH) 25 April 2011
Simone PRIMPIER (1932) (widow of Joseph PRIMPIER, ex-SB) 7 June 2011
Palmira TEL (1932) (widow of Adelchi TEL, ex-SB) 7 July 2011
Hans WITTWER (1946) (widower of Marianne WITTWER, ex-AS) 9 July 2011
Jacqueline MARRER (1930) (widow of René-Louis MARRER, ex-ST) 24 July 2011

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)

Here is some fresh information concerning our Health Insurance Scheme

The GAC-EPA bulletin n°40 presented the proposals submitted to TREF, aiming to maintain the financial balance of our Scheme. In December 2010, these proposals led to the decisions which were communicated to you in a letter from HR Department, that is to say an increase in premiums and the maintenance of the level of benefits. These decisions were also detailed in CHISBull n°33 in March 2011.

New Rules and reform of benefits

During the year 2011, the CERN Health Insurance Advisory Board (CHISBoard) undertook an extensive study of the reform of benefits of the Scheme, aiming to adapt its Rules to the new conditions of health benefits and to simplify a few rules judged too complicated or inefficient.

A modified Ruling will be introduced on 1 January 2012. The CERN Administration has sent (or will send) to each main person insured a note specifying the details of these modications. An issue of the CHISBull will also be devoted to this subject. Let us remind you simply that the main point is the suppression of the annual deductible in parallel with the introduction of a system of steps in the reimbursement rates depending on the cumulative amount remaining at the expense of the insured person.

The introduction of a bonus following an appeal from a medical practioner working in a country where medical expenses are lower that those of Switzerland, should prompt us to better direct our measures in our search for the least expensive costs of health benefits.

Financial Situation

An increase in medical costs reimbursed has been registered but it is as yet too early to make a prognostic for the year 2011 as a whole; the most important item in spending is always represented by hospital costs (about 41% of the total).
In spite of the economic crisis, the CHIS treasury is satisfactory and at the time of writing this report has not registered any substantial loss.

Conventions and hospital invoices

Currently there are ongoing negotiations with the different health providers (especially clinics and hospitals) in view of revising the current agreements for 2012; separate information will be given later concerning any eventual changes.

Pierre LAZEYRAS, Jean-Paul DISS, David JACOBS, Michel BABOULAZ

The Pension Fund

What is happening?

(French only)

François WITTGENSTEIN

SCC Working Group on Pension Guarantees
part 2

(original French)

The SCC Working Group on Pension Guarantees has ceased its activities for the time being.

We should remember that a parallel Working Group—WG2—was created by the Administration Council of the Pension Fund. This group’s mandate is to propose measures to ensure full capitalisation of the Fund. We have put on hold our activities until these propsals are presented.

Edith DELUERMOZ, Carlo VANDONI

Presence on the internet

During 2011 two important things have been implemented: a simpler version for maintaining the site and the setting up of the members database.

While it is certainly desirable to improve the presentation aspects of our site, its main purpose is communication with our members. In order to provide this communication faster, work was done on the easier editing of structure and more automatic presentation (e.g. numbering of headings) and the editing of tables has been greatly simplified.

It was mainly behind-the-scenes work, not directly visible to the reader, but it makes life much easier for your webmaster. I continue to pay attention not to force fonts or text sizes to the eyes of our members. In fact, our entire site automatically adapts to the settings you set in your computer and your web browser, and therefore should present no problem. I am of course open to any comments and suggestions, which you can send to webmaster@gac-epa.org (adress no longer in use/adresse plus en service)

Members have long expressed a desire to consult the list of obituaries. Although this list is regularly published by the Pension Fund on their site, and also appears in the Bulletin, it is in both cases a set of separate lists which cannot be easily consulted. All these lists are now available on the site in the form of a single database which can be searched, sorted and so on.

However, attention should be paid to the following:

  1. As this is private data, the database contains only information that is public. If a name does not appear, it may be that the member or someone of the family was opposed to making the information public.
  2. All names published by the Pension Fund are added to the list, even if the person in question is not a member of the GAC-EPA.
  3. The database contains only data from about 2002 on.

The database of the GAC-EPA members was also put on the server to allow Committee Members to consult it from the comfort of their home. This part of the data is not accessible to ordinary members of the GAC-EPA and of course access is protected: one must go through two password forms and all transmissions are encrypted. In addition, only a limited number of Members of the Committee (e.g. the Treasurer and the Assistant Treasurer) can make updates.

The database is also the source of the email lists, and I hope that there will be fewer problems with this mode of communication from now on.

During the work on the database a number of requests from our members could not be considered in time and in particular there were differences between our data and those held by the CERN mail service which send out the communications on paper. Although there were fortunately only very few errors, I wish to express my apologies to those who have suffered multiple or indeed unwanted mailings, and those who perhaps received nothing.

Robert Cailliau

Message from the Treasurers:

We encourage those who have not yet paid their membership fee for 2011 to do so before 31 December by transferring the amount of 25CHF

with the message: "cotisation 2011".
D’avance nous vous en remercions