Judgment No. 2089
THE COMPLAINTS ARE DISMISSED.
"The complaint attacks a decision [...] amending Article 36 of the [organisation]'s Pension Scheme rules. While the Tribunal cannot grant the claim for quashing that amended article and the complaint is, to that extent, irreceivable, the Tribunal will treat it as a complaint against the application of the amended article in breach of the complainants' acquired rights."
Organization rules reference: ARTICLE 36 OF THE EMBL'S PENSION SCHEME RULES
general decision; receivability of the complaint; competence of tribunal; acquired right; amendment to the rules; pension; impugned decision
From 1986 to 2000 the organisation followed the practice followed by the coordinated organizations in adjusting both salaries and pensions in accordance with both cost-of-living and standard-of-living adjustments. In July 2000 it made a cost-of-living adjustment mandatory for pensions even if no such adjustment is made to salaries, but no provision is made for standard-of-living adjustment to pensions. "It is simply untenable to argue that the [organisation] could, by following the practice of the coordinated organizations in previous years, bind itself to do so for all time [...] There can be no doubt that the same body that had the authority to adopt [the] decision [to follow the practice followed by the coordinated organizations] had equally the authority to decide to withdraw it."
competence; decision quashed; organisation's duties; practice; coordinated organisations; amendment to the rules; no provision; period; salary; adjustment; cost-of-living increase; pension; pension adjustment system; executive body
From 1986 to 2000 the organisation followed the practice followed by the coordinated organizations in adjusting both salaries and pensions in accordance with both cost-of-living and standard-of-living adjustments. In July 2000 it made a cost-of-living adjustment mandatory for pensions even if no such adjustment is made to salaries, but no provision is made for standard-of-living adjustment to pensions. "It is to no avail that the complainants criticise the effectiveness of the change or the accuracy of the calculations on which it was based, for those are not matters within the Tribunal's competence."
competence of tribunal; iloat; practice; coordinated organisations; amendment to the rules; no provision; reckoning; period; salary; adjustment; cost-of-living increase; pension; pension adjustment system
"To accept that pensions must always be adjusted to keep in line with post-retirement salary increases would be to expose pension funds to an uncertain and unmeasurable future liability which might well in the end wipe out the funds themselves."
subsequent fact; salary; adjustment; separation from service; retirement; special hazard; pension; unjspf; pension adjustment system; acceptance; discontinuance; increase
The true thrust of the complainants' case, and the only aspect which requires serious consideration, is that the amendment breaches certain of their acquired rights. The complainants lay particular emphasis on Judgment 61 in which the Tribunal stated the following:
"12. The terms of appointment of international civil servants and, in particular, those of the officials of the [Organisation], derive both from the stipulations of a strictly individual character in their contract of appointment and from Staff Regulations and Rules, which the contract of employment by reference incorporates. Owing, inter alia, to their increasing complexity, the conditions of service mainly appear not amongst the stipulations specifically set out in the contract of appointment but in the provisions of the above-mentioned Staff Regulations and Rules. The Staff Regulations and Rules contain in effect two types of provisions, the nature of which differs according to the objects to which they are directed. It is necessary to distinguish, on the one hand provisions which appertain to the structure and functioning of the international civil service and the benefits of an impersonal nature and subject to variation, and, on the other hand, provisions which appertain to the individual terms and conditions of an official, in consideration of which he accepted appointment. Provisions of the first type are statutory in character and may be modified at any time in the interest of the service, subject, nevertheless, to the principle of non-retroactivity and to such limitations as the competent authority itself may place upon its powers to modify them. Conversely, provisions of the second type should to a large extent be assimilated to contractual stipulations. Hence, if the efficient functioning of the organisation in the general interest of the international community requires that the latter type of provisions should not be frozen at the date of appointment and continue so for its entire duration, such provisions may be modified in respect of a serving official and without his consent but only in so far as modification does not adversely affect the balance of contractual obligations or infringe the essential terms in
consideration of which the official accepted appointment."
ILOAT Judgment(s): 61
staff regulations and rules; amendment to the rules