Join the Staff Union: Why joining and how to become a member
Shape your working environment.
In the United Nations it is up to each individual to decide whether or not to join the Staff Union and become a contributing member. Read on to see why we should all become members.
How can I join?
Anyone who is employed by the United Nations at Vienna can become a member of the Union. It does not matter how long your contract is or what type of contract you have. the Union is open to all grades and categories.
How much does it cost?
The contribution is set at 0.15 per cent of your net salary plus allowances (typically between 5 to 15 Euro depending on your salary). There is no limit to what members may contribute in terms of time and ideas. To join download and fill out the
What are the benefits?
What the Union can do for members depends to a large extent on the efforts of members themselves. As a member you will be in a position to play a part in shaping your working environment and improving your conditions of employment. One thing is certain: we can achieve more through our joint efforts as members of the Union than each of us would on our own. In addition, contributing members get a Union membership card entitling them to benefits such as legal assistance for work-related issues, two free legal consultations per year for non-work-related issues, assistance with tenenacy issues, special discounts with mobile companies (T-mobile and Drei), discounts on goods and services from local shops, restaurants and various service providers.
What influence does the Staff Union have in the United Nations?
Given that it is clearly representative, the Staff Union can and does have a real influence on decisions on a wide range of issues affecting staff, in particular through its joint bodies such as the
SMC (Staff Management Committee) at the Secretariat level which deals with global staff welfare and conditions of service, and the
JAC (Joint Advisory Committee) in Vienna, which deals with the same issue at the local level.
Is it really worth joining the Union?
Our terms and conditions of employment have been deteriorating for a number of years now. We need a strong union if this trend is to be halted and reversed. But remuneration is not the only issue. In fact the Union devotes more than half of its time and energy to other matters unrelated - or only indirectly related - to pay and pensions, such as job security, occupational safety and health, staff movements, the mobility policy, special problems of staff in the field, job classification, recruitment, training, career policy and equal opportunity, as well as problems affecting staff individually. By being a member, you will be able to take up the issues that are most important to you.
What if I have problems with my supervisor?
Some problems can be solved by consulting your HR officer. If this does not work, contact your representative in the Staff Council (
complete list), the
Staff Committee or the
President. They will advise you on how best to proceed: for example by informing you of your rights or obligations under the Staff Regulations; by interceding on your behalf; by accompanying you when you discuss a contentions matter with your chief; or by helping you formulate a complaint. The Union can also help members who decide to
appeal to the UN Dispute Tribunal.
How can I find out more about the Union?
Why not dip into the
Staff Union's Annual Report? Information about current activities can be found on the Staff Union website. Better still, ask your colleagues who are or have been in the Staff Council - they will be happy to answer your questions. If you work in the field, don't hesitate to contact the Representative of the Field Offices in the Council or write to the President.
How can I take part in Union activities?
Take part in our meetings, for a start. Or you can stand for election as a Staff Council representative. Your contribution might turn out to be more valuable and effective than you think. If you work in the field, there are representatives for the Field Office. You enjoy essentially the same benefits from Union membership as headquarters staff. The one big difference is that you are far from the centre of decision-making in the Office - one of the reasons why the Union has made special arrangements for the representation of field staff.
We hope this has shown you that the Staff Union has a useful role to play. Remember that improvements gained through the Union are of benefit to all staff. To become a member, please complete the form attached and send it to the Staff Union Office (room E-1112). If you are still not convinced, please ring the President (ext. 5534) or the Staff Union Secretariat (ext. 3588).