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PSI calls for international support for United Nations workers’ rights

September 09, 2013
In the summer of 2013, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon unilaterally decided to strip UN unions of negotiating rights and suspend the Staff Management Committee. This sends an unacceptable message to the world that unions are not valid – and is especially hypocritical coming from the global organisation dedicated to peace, social justice and upholding international conventions on freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Workers in many United Nations organisations have been trade union members for decades. Public Services International is proud to represent members of the Staff Union of the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) as part of our global union federation.

Public Services International leader Rosa Pavanelli says, “Representing more than 20 million public service workers around the world, PSI joins our voice in denouncing the unilateral actions of the United Nations and demands that the management of the UN, as well as of its funds, programmes and specialised agencies, respect workers’ fundamental rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

“PSI urges all trade unionists to call on your UN Member States and Foreign Ministers and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to respect the rights of workers and immediately resume bargaining.”

Across the globe today, from Greece to Wisconsin, USA – efforts to dismantle quality public services through short-sighted, politically-driven reforms and austerity measures often go hand-in-hand with moves to weaken or destroy public services unions. With broad reform efforts underway in nearly all United Nations organisations - the integrity, independence and security of the international civil service is under threat. These reforms which, while pretending to involve the staff, are driven by management and the member States (as outlined in the “HLCM Non-Paper”).

Many UN unions come together in a federation known as the Coordinating Committee for Staff Unions and Associations (CCISUA). Unions in the UN have been seeking greater protection for workers sent on increasingly dangerous missions. In the last ten years there have been attacks on 555 UN staff members and over 200 deaths. The unions have been seeking improved health and safety protection and a reduction in the use of private military security contractors. Unions have been seeking to negotiate improvements to peacekeeping missions, better protection for whistle-blowers, improved screening out of war criminals and violators of human rights seeking UN posts, and the retention of experienced staff and effective redeployment procedures.

There is no longer a negotiating body in place to progress these vital discussions.

The International Trade Union Confederation has also called on the UN to respect international labour standards within its own operations.  

Send your letters to:

Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General, United Nations
1 United Nations Plaza,
New York,
NY 10017, USA


For more infornation:

CCISUA briefing document:  http://www.gftu.org/assets/userfiles/1061_CCISUAL_BRIEFING_DOCUMENT.pdf
UN Staff Union: http://u-seek.org/
ILO Staff Union: http://www.ilostaffunion.org/new/

Join the LabourStart campaign send a letter of protest to UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon

Also see