Staff Council promotes staff interests in New York

Published on Thursday, 4 December 2014

As you may be aware, one of the challenges we face being in Vienna is that many decisions affecting us are made in New York, either by the General Assembly or by senior management. For this reason we committed ourselves in our work programme to use all forms of staff-management available to us in order to advance your interests.

As part of this, the Staff Council sent a delegation to New York to bring issues of concern to you to the attention of General Assembly Fifth Committee, permanent missions and senior officials, both directly and through CCISUA, a federation of staff unions of which we are a member.

In our many meetings and interventions in New York, we raised the following issues:

  • concerns at plans to cut the administrative posts before Umoja is rolled out and its impact evaluated;
  • performance management;
  • complications with how continuing appointments were awarded;
  • the lack of whistleblower protection at the UN;
  • concerns about changes to salaries and allowances that would reduce the attractiveness of serving in the field;
  • safety and security at headquarters and in the field;
  • difficulties at the pension fund;
  • the benefits of providing current staff with the right to choose to be able to retire at 65 should they wish;
  • that the pay freeze for professional staff should not become a pay cut; and
  • concerns about changes to office space use

As part of this, two interventions were made at the General Assembly Fifth Committee, oneĀ  on 18 November and an earlier one on 27 October.

In addition, briefs were prepared on common system issues (including compensation and retirement age), internal justice, and the pension fund, and were shared during meetings with the following permanent missions:

Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, European Union, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, New Zealand, Paraguay, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovakia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay

and in meetings with the following senior officials:

  • Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon
  • Chief of Staff, Susana Malcorra
  • Under Secretary General for Management, Yukio Takasu
  • Chair of the International Civil Service Commission, Kingston Rhodes
  • Assistant Secretary-General of Human Resources Management, Carole Wainaina
  • UN Ombudsman, John Barkat
  • Assistant Secretary General of Safety and Security, Mbaranga Gasarabwe
  • Representative of the Secretary-General to the UN joint staff pension fund, and Assistant Secretary General in charge of investments, Carolyn Boykin
  • Director of the Ethics Office, Joan Dubinsky
  • Director of the Management Evaluation Unit, Christian Rhode,
  • Chief of the Office of Staff Legal Assistance, Brian Gorlick

Member states informed us that they appreciated their meetings with us. Some reconsidered their positions as a result, including on the retirement age. They will now debate these issues, with agreement on many points expected prior to Christmas. Other issues will be part of short-, medium- and long-term decision-making processes taking place at different levels. In all cases we will be keeping you updated on developments.

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