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On the last day of the ILC, UN staff based in Geneva embarked on a work stoppage against 7,5% pay cut

16 June 2017
PSI affiliate United Nations Geneva Staff Coordinating Council called people to wear a red armband to show solidarity to all UN staff who engaged in a work stoppage on the last day of the ILC

 PSI's Deputy General, David Boys, addresses the assembly

Message from the United Nations Geneva Staff Coordinating Council


Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the staff unions and associations of Geneva-based UN organizations, we wish to inform you that the planned work stoppage will take place this afternoon from 3 to 5 p.m.

For memory, the stoppage was decided by at the staff meeting of 24 May by the adoption of a resolution. The stoppage is being coordinated with all other UN international organizations in Geneva. The aim is to send a strong message to both the International Civil Service Commission and UN high-level management in New York that staff in Geneva will not accept a pay cut of one month’s salary a year on the basis of what we believe to be erroneous calculations, inconsistent with prevailing economic data, and motivated we believe by political considerations.

This stoppage is important for all staff, P and G, as the ICSC has attempted to cut salaries in both categories. It’s also a question of solidarity.

The continuous erosion of our pay and conditions of service, and the refusal of the ICSC three times to explain the results to Geneva staff, nor considered changing their position on the cut, explains why we have had to escalate our actions. Nevertheless we remain open to discussions with the ICSC, should they come forward in a clear and open manner.

Thank you.


Further information

Why are we holding a work stoppage?

The stoppage is being held because the International Civil Service Commission is proposing to cut P salaries in Geneva by 7.7 percent. We believe this cut to be inconsistent with prevailing economic data, based on erroneous calculations by the ICSC and deriving from incorrect information (a more in-depth statistical investigation into the ICSC’s calculations is currently being prepared). We are also concerned that the way the ICSC has carried out its calculations portends future pay cuts for other duty stations and other categories of staff. The fact that the ICSC has
now three times refused to explain the results to Geneva staff, nor considered changing their position on the cut, explains the need to escalate our action.

The ICSC will be meeting in Vienna this July during which it has indicated it may review its decision. It is clear that without a strong voice from staff, it won’t change its position. We are also speaking with member states and ILO conference delegates on this matter.

Nevertheless we reiterate our openness to discussions with the ICSC, should they come forward in a clear and open manner.

What does a work stoppage imply?

A work stoppage implies the withdrawal of labour for a period of less than half a day during which you should remain within the official work premises or be at a precise meeting point or event organized by your staff Union (for ILO staff, this meeting point is room XVIII of the Palais des nations). It should also be noted that taking part in a work stoppage has been upheld by both the UN and ILO Administrative Tribunals as being compliant with the rights of international civil servants, including their right to organize, associate, express themselves and undertake relevant actions.

During the stoppage you should neither interfere nor disrupt the work of the organization. To this end we reiterate our message of Tuesday, based on legal advice received, that during the stoppage your behaviour should remain consistent with the standards expected of an international civil servant. While you may withdraw your labour, you may not prevent delegates from accessing meetings, block corridors, actively block others from working, make threats, damage the Organization's property or create a danger for others.

So that our collective action not be considered an unauthorized absence we reiterate the legal requirement to remain within an official workplace or be at an event organized by the ILO Staff Union for the duration of the stoppage. If you are teleworking at the time of the stoppage, you should remain in your alternate workplace.

Also see