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2 May 2017 - UN Geneva Staff rally against the 7,5 % pay cut

25 April 2017, staff assembled inside the grounds of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) in front of the Celestial Globe to protest the 7.5% salary cut proposed by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) while the heads of UN organizations gathered for a meeting at WIPO. Despite the rain and very short notice, there was good participation with around 500 staff present, including nearly 100 from WHO. There was media coverage in  Swissinfo, Tribune de Geneve, 20 Minutes and the ATS wire service. Access photos of rally here.

The staff federations, FICSA and CCISUA, met the same day with the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres. His willingness to meet contrasts sharply with that of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), which had twice declined to meet with the Geneva-based staff to explain how the cut was calculated.

The federations outlined to the UN Secretary-General its concerns about the ICSC’s methods and results and argued that that the proposed pay cuts were neither evidenced-based nor consistent with good practices of management. Most importantly, the proposed pay cuts will jeopardize the UN’s important work by eroding morale and by making it difficult to hire and retain staff.

The UN Secretary-General shared the concerns expressed by the staff federations, which he considered to be the opposite of good reform. His position joins that of heads of agencies in Geneva, who have strongly questioned the ICSC methods and conclusions.

On 24 and 25 April 2017, senior management from UN organizations in Geneva met with the Commission. The ICSC apparently strongly defended its methods but agreed to provide them with an “information package” in the coming days. The heads of the Geneva-based UN organizations subsequently prepared another joint letter to the ICSC stating that they would continue deferring the implementation of the pay cut until it could be resolved. The 85th session of the Commission will take place in July 2017 so the staff federations will work together with various agency managements to prepare technical and legal arguments for this meeting.

The deferral of the proposed pay cut is a positive development and our staff federations will maintain the momentum of the UN-wide no pay cuts campaign. We will keep you informed of any new developments. However, in the meantime, we would encourage you to print this poster in colour and place it on your office door.

Thank you all for your support and mobilization!