António Guterres's first meeting as Secretary-General was with Staff Unions

Published on Wednesday, 4 January 2017

António Guterres's first meeting as Secretary-General, within an hour of entering the UN building, was with the staff unions. At the meeting, staff proposed ways to:

  • simplify mobility to more quickly recruit and deploy staff and make it more staff-friendly;
  • make performance management work;
  • better protect whistleblowers;
  • protect staff in the global service delivery model;
  • work towards gender parity and geographic diversity;
  • hold senior managers properly accountable;
  • get a better deal for temporary staff and consultants;
  • address cuts to P, FS, GS and NO compensation;
  • improve staff safety;
  • allow GS, FS and NO staff to apply for P posts;
  • protect the pension fund; and 
  • reset staff-managment relations.

A number of these proposals are contained in this advance policy document, which was prepared by staff unions in response to Guterres's call for a more simplified, decentralized and flexible organization with a more motivated staff, better whistleblower protection, as well as gender parity and geographical diversity.

Guterres committed himself to finding solutions to the issues raised during the meeting and to improving staff-management relations. He said he would always be available to meet.

He pledged to find common ground on issues for which staff and management might traditionally be on opposing sides, such as contract stability and performance management.

He also committed himself to do whatever could be done to help staff in the most remote and dangerous locations.

Finally he noted that the UN would have to prove that it was able reform itself and be more effective.

As staff unions we believe that actions and impact are what count and we will be monitoring this very closely. Nevertheless, this first meeting was positive and in contrast with the past. We look forward to working closely with Mr. Guterres to promote your interests in these difficult times.

©2021 UNOV Staff Union