EP news: MEP Assistants and Stagiaires, have your say!

The GMB Assistants and Stagiaires Survey can be filled in online, in English, French, German and Spanish

We want to hear your views on your work in the European Parliament! That means your conditions, your issues, what you like and what you dislike, and anything else you want to tell us – please let us know by filling in our survey.

The survey will take you just 5 minutes to complete and is completely anonymous. The survey is available in English, French, German and Spanish. It is open to all MEP Assistants and Stagiaires working in Brussels or Strasbourg.

Check your Parliamentary inbox for an email containing the link to the survey.

Your feedback will help us put together a snapshot of the working conditions of MEP Assistants and Stagiaires across the European Parliament – and it will help us campaign on the issues that matter to you.

EP news: GMB meets with Parliament on dismissals

GMB Brussels Branch representatives have held urgent meetings with Parliamentary authorities on the issue of unfair and irregular dismissal of MEPs’ Assistants, which is thought to be a serious problem in the institution.

Whilst many MEPs are exemplary employers, GMB Brussels Branch is concerned that an administrative ‘gap’ has enabled a number of MEPs to abuse the rules on terminating an Assistant’s contract.

Working in tandem with representatives of the Assistants’ Committee, officers of the Brussels Branch of the GMB Trade Union have met with officials from both DG Personnel and the Legal Service of the Parliament. GMB aims to ascertain what more can be done to ensue that the Parliament protects the rights of assistants, whether through better enforcement of the existing rules or by proposing changes to the procedures.

The Branch believes that Assistants currently fall into an administrative ‘gap,’ as under current working practices the Parliament is not accustomed to helping an Assistant where there is a case of conflict with an MEP. This results in an unusual situation, in which the burden of proof is on the employee, rather than the employer, in any case of dismissal.

Brussels news: Workers should be aware of their rights under Belgian law

The GMB Brussels Branch has recently represented and advised a number of members who have had difficulties with their rights under Belgian employment law.

Many UK employers, as well as their workers based in Brussels, believe that their employment relationship is governed by UK law. However, employment actually carried out in Belgium is primarily subject to Belgian law, regardless of the location of the employer or where tax and social security is paid.

Whilst it is true that certain workers have ‘posted worker’ status, this is more restricted than many workers realise (for example, it cannot apply to any employment lasting longer than two years). In any case, even ‘posted’ workers enjoy the same basic rights as Belgians in a number of areas under Belgian law – including, for example, minimum pay and paid holidays.

Workers who are based in Brussels should contact their Union representatives if they are unsure of their rights.