WIPO Staff Council Head Fired

Published on Tuesday, 23 September 2014

On Friday 19 September 2014, Mr. Moncef Kateb, head of the WIPO staff association was fired. This was done in advance of WIPO's annual governing body meeting, where he was expected to criticize the controversial management style and behaviour of Director-General Francis Gurry, who is already the subject of a preliminary investigation for two different charges, one for improperly influencing a procurement process, the other for improperly using the Geneva police to obtain the DNA of WIPO staff so as to identify the author of a letter against him.

Please find here a letter from staff unions of the UN system around the world to the governing body of WIPO (the Assemblies of Member States) calling for the reinstatement of Mr. Kateb. The letter was sent prior to his dismissal at a time when he was on suspension without pay. As the letter explains, Mr. Kateb had blown the whistle on several occasions in the past, including on the shipment of sophisticated IT equipment to North Korea.

The letter is signed by the leaders of the three federations of staff unions, representing 120,000 international civil servants around the world. The letter also calls for the identification of a new Director-General capable of inspiring all Member States and staff. The federation that represents your union, CCISUA, is playing a strong role in this campaign. We strongly reiterate the importance of ensuring that staff, not management, be able to choose who represents them in line with the principle of freedom of association entrenched by the ILO Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize and the UN's International Convenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The actions of the WIPO Director-General are directly relevant to you as Mr. Gurry chairs the UN's High Level Committee on Management. His continued presence as chair impacts how the credibility and integrity of management reform at the UN is perceived.

An electronic Petition has been established which calls on the WIPO Director General to immediately reinstate the President of the WIPO Staff Association. You are strongly encouraged to join this act of solidarity by signing up to the Petition available at: http://www.labourstart.org/go/wipo

On 8 October 2014 the representatives of the three staff federations, CCISUA, FICSA and UNISERV met with the WIPO Director General in New York. Here is the federations' letter sent to him in follow up to their meeting.

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