The new Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, met with staff representatives during his first official meeting as SG. This was followed by his first town hall meeting, which took place on Monday, 9.
The SG advised that this town hall meeting was designed to allow staff members to voice their opinions. As such, he asked colleagues to speak openly and to share thoughts and suggestions. He also asked staff to send in questions and comments prior to the meeting and over 450 were received. This novel approach allowed a freer exchange of ideas than during previous meetings and was well received by all stakeholders.
Below is the text of our short intervention, which was read on your behalf by staff rep, Steve Coulson, which paralleled comments made last week to the SG in the staff reps' meeting.
I am Steve Coulson, staff representative from the ICTY and MICT in The Hague, The Netherlands but also representing our field offices internationally. Congratulations Secretary General on your appointment, we look forward to working with you and your team in the future.
Our staff would like to draw your attention to several persistent and important administrative decisions and policies that have the effect of discrimination against staff. For example, many ICTY staff qualified for permanent contract appointments during the conversion exercise were not granted such permanent appointment despite the fact that we have won two appeals on the issue at the UNDT level and two at the UNAT level. Moreover, MICT staff have been excluded from permanent contracts consideration. This is having a negative effect on morale. Additionally, staff on temporary contracts have lesser benefits than staff on other contract types.
A great and consistent concern of our unions has been the artificial barrier preventing qualified G staff to advance into P posts. This policy undervalues the experience and capabilities of General Service staff who are doing important front-line work all over the world. Many of them feel discriminated against by their employer that will routinely select recent university graduates with little experience over qualified General Service staff with many years of experience. Lastly, secretary general, staff feel vulnerable to retaliation for reporting unethical management behavior.
We welcome your feedback on these concerns and are eager to work with your team to find solutions that work for the United Nations and it’s global workforce. Thank you.
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