Strike threatens Commission reform efforts

Staff unions angry over reform process may strike if Commission pushes ahead


The future of the European Commission's efforts to carry out a wide-ranging reform of its bureaucracy is in doubt as staff unions threaten to strike in protest at the implementation of measures they are strongly opposed to. During the last strike in May 1998, an overwhelming majority of Commission staff stayed away from work despite the fact that a relatively small number of them are actually members of a union.

Relations between Neil Kinnock, Commission Vice President for administrative reform, and the staff unions have deteriorated steadily since the publication of the White Paper on Commission reform in March of last year. Whilst both sides recognise that reform is necessary, the unions have expressed dissatisfaction with the way that the reforms are being implemented. They also feel that they are in effect being blamed for past management errors by the College of Commissioners.