TOUCH POINT MEETING - ECB - 30th March 2020
The Video conference was shorter than expected because of technical problem at ECB level.
Unfortunately, HR Anne-Sylvie Catherin was not present. The meeting turned around more informal information than an official one.
Nevertheless, I have succeeded to mention most of the demands and questions you provided me by e-mail.
The ECB has confirmed the cancellation of all meetings up to June 15. Further to the requests of several trade union organisations that insist on having a direct contact with the ECB, I have asked that different video teleconferences be held with small groups by country. The ECB will think of this request.
The ECB started by mentioning the social dialogue that was cancelled and the documents prepared for it but I declared that, taking into account the current situation, we would rather wish to approach the consequences of this crisis and, therefore, the agenda of the next social dialogue meeting (in Autumn) would have to be adjusted in accordance.
I also resumed all the information that I had collected by mail from our member trade unions. Many information and questions. There is a big demand to exchange the "best practices" that are being followed by our NCBs since the beginning of the crisis. I have proposed to prepare a document with the gathered information and evolution of the situation that could be transmitted to the ECB within some weeks.
I insisted on the work of our colleagues who are not teleworking (for example the cashier services) and especially about their working conditions which do not respect the security measures vis-à-vis the Covid-19. I also put our worries about the "desk sharing" system which is becoming a big "fashion" in certain NCBs, such as in Belgium and Ireland, but which are in the same time not compatible to prevent the staff from the virus.
At last, I insisted on the lack of cohesion and solidarity among the EU countries and the importance for NCBs to show that the ESCB must stay united, which doesn't seem to be the case at the moment. In fact, how can we understand that the Banca d'Italia, for instance, has decided to donate 21 million euros for health support when the Banque de France has announced the donation of 1 million only? Not being my intention to get into a solidarity competition, it seems important that the NCBs should stand in solidarity in their actions. For instance, a donation to health services by NCB equivalent to a certain percentage of the balance sheet of our respective NCBs would be a strong image of solidarity and cohesion in these difficult times for Europe.
The current image of the EU shows no cohesion. Nationalism is growing everywhere and the national retreat is likely to do a lot of damage in a few weeks. The ECB has a responsibility with all THE NCBs that must be corrected the sooner as possible. The division between EU institutions, governments and citizens has never been so great. The certainties of the past are falling, nothing will ever be the way it was. It is up to all of us to make the necessary efforts to rebuild together. The trade unions are ready to invest... yet our respective governments must now take seriously some of our claims which seemed illusory in the past but very real and in need tomorrow!
Contact with the ECB will occur in the coming days following this video conference. We hope for concrete answers and actions.
Thierry Desanois, President of SCECBU