Language of document : ECLI:EU:F:2015:69

JUDGMENT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION CIVIL SERVICE TRIBUNAL

(Third Chamber)

30 June 2015

Case F‑124/14

Olivier Petsch

v

European Commission

(Civil service — Member of the contract staff — Crèche and after-school centre staff — Reform of the Staff Regulations and of the CEOS that entered into force on 1 January 2014 — Regulation No 1023/2013 — Increase in working hours — Additional monthly amount — Article 50 of the Rules of Procedure — Hierarchy of norms — General implementing provisions for Article 110(1) of the Staff Regulations — Article 2 of the annex to the CEOS — Articles 27 and 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union)

Application:      under Article 270 TFEU, applicable to the EAEC Treaty pursuant to Article 106a thereof, in which Mr Petsch seeks annulment of his salary slip for January 2014 and of the slips for subsequent months in so far as they do not include an ‘additional monthly amount’ taking account of the increase in his working hours since 1 January 2014.

Held:      The action is dismissed. Mr Petsch is to bear his own costs and is ordered to pay the costs incurred by the European Commission.

Summary

1.      Judicial proceedings — Application initiating proceedings — Formal requirements — Clear and precise summary of the pleas in law relied on — Action before the Civil Service Tribunal

(Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal, Art. 50(1)(e))

2.      Officials — Contract staff — Working conditions — Reform of the Staff Regulations and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants which came into force on 1 January 2014 — Increase in working time without increase in salary — Effect on the additional monthly amount under Article 2(2) of the annex to the Conditions of Employment — None

(Staff Regulations, Art. 55; Conditions of Employment of Other Servants, Art. 93, and annex thereto, Art. 2(2); Regulation No 1023/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council, recitals 12 and 22)

3.      Officials — Staff Regulations — General implementing provisions — Powers of the institutions — Limits

(Staff Regulations, Art. 110(1); Conditions of Employment of Other Servants)

4.      Fundamental rights — Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — Workers’ right to information and consultation within the undertaking — Right to collective bargaining — Possibility of relying on those rights in relations between the Union institutions and their staff — Limits

(Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Arts 27 and 28)

1.      The purpose of the amendment of Article 35(1)(e) of the old Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal by Article 50(1)(e) of those Rules of Procedure, in the version which entered into force on 1 October 2014, was, in particular, to strengthen the requirement that applicants clearly present their pleas in law by requiring that those pleas set out a precise identification of their legal basis, that the argument presented under each plea in law is exclusively related to that basis and that each plea is strictly distinguished from the others, in the interest of all professionals involved in the judicial proceedings, litigants, lawyers, agents and members of the judiciary. That being so, it is not for the Tribunal to take measures of organisation of procedure or ask questions during the hearing solely in order to rectify inadequacies, inaccuracies or ambiguities in the wording of the application in the light of Article 50(1)(e) of the Rules of Procedure.

In that connection, where pleas in law are not structured as now required by Article 50(1)(e) of the Rules of Procedure, as long as the brevity of the arguments put forward makes it possible, once digressions, asides and other ambiguous, imprecise or unexplained claims have been discounted, to identify the complaints which the applicant seeks to raise, the application may not be declared inadmissible overall.

(see paras 21, 23)

See:

Judgment in de Pretis Cagnodo and Trampuz de Pretis Cagnodo v Commission, F‑104/10, EU:F:2013:64, para. 57

2.      In the light of recitals 12 and 22, Regulation No 1023/2013 amending the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Union amended Article 55 of the Staff Regulations by providing for a minimum working week of 40 hours, but left unchanged Article 93 of the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants fixing the basic salary of contract staff.

It follows that, in adopting Regulation No 1023/2013, the legislature intended to increase the minimum working week to 40 hours without an increase in salary, whereas the working week had previously been fixed by common agreement of the appointing authorities of each institution at 37 hours and 30 minutes, in the light of the discretion granted to the institutions by Article 55 of the version of the Staff Regulations applicable up to 31 December 2013.

As regards payment of the additional amount referred to in Article 2(2) of the annex to the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants, not only was this an ‘option’ at the discretion of each institution, but also its sole purpose was to protect the purchasing power of those concerned, which was now calculated on a monthly basis from the point at which the rules changed, in order to offset any reduction in remuneration following their acceptance of a contract as a member of the contract staff, and taking account of the amount of the salary paid under national legislation on the date when the rules changed. The provisions of Union law granting entitlement to financial benefits must be interpreted strictly.

In that regard, in view of the wording, purpose and context created by the new Article 55 of the Staff Regulations, read in the light of Article 93 of the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants, it must consequently be considered that Article 2 of the annex to those Conditions of Employment continues the possibility for each institution to pay the additional monthly amount, but without that amount being affected by the longer working hours without increase in salary adopted by the Union legislature. In the latter connection, in accordance with the higher legislation to which it is subject, the EU legislature is free to add at any time to the rules of the Staff Regulations the amendments which it deems consistent with the interest of the service and to adopt, for the future, Staff Regulations provisions which are more unfavourable for the officials or other servants concerned.

(see paras 27, 28, 33, 35, 36)

See:

Judgment in Centeno Mediavilla and Others v Commission, T‑58/05, EU:T:2007:218, para. 86

Judgments in Dalmasso v Commission, F‑61/05, EU:F:2008:47, para. 78, and Bosman v Council, F‑145/07, EU:F:2008:149, paras 32 and 39 and the case-law cited therein

3.      The general implementing provisions adopted under Article 110(1) of the Staff Regulations have a lower mandatory force than the Staff Regulations and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants. Accordingly, they may not lawfully, in any circumstances, lay down rules which derogate from the hierarchically superior provisions of those Staff Regulations or Conditions of Employment.

(see para. 29)

See:

Judgment in Ianniello v Commission, T‑308/04, EU:T:2007:347, para. 38

Judgment in Bouillez and Others v Council, F‑11/11, EU:F:2012:8, para. 45

4.      While the right to the information and consultation of workers and the right to collective bargaining, enshrined in Articles 27 and 28 respectively of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, are capable of being applied in relations between the Union institutions and their staff, it is for EU law to regulate the exercise of those rights, in accordance with the wording of the provisions themselves.

(see para. 44)

See:

Judgment in Association de médiation sociale, C‑176/12, EU:C:2014:2, paras 44 and 45

Order in Bergallou v Parliament and Council, T‑22/14, EU:T:2014:954, para. 33