News

Staff Council budget changes and impact on future activities | Modifications du budget du Conseil et impact sur les activités à venir

You will recall our broadcast last month regarding the reduction in income to the Staff Council for the current financial year. In view of this, the Council conducted a review of its budget, which also prompted a more general review of our activities and expenditures for the 2018-2019 budget cycle. Measures were also taken to review our income stream for the coming years.

Among the changes we decided to reduce significantly the budget for representational activities and travel, for sports and other club activities representational activities and for the just-completed staff party.

We also decided to move the 2019 children’s party from its May slot (as it was in 2018) to a new December slot, for which it will now have a Christmas theme.

Knowing the importance of planning ahead when it comes to your children’s activities we felt it important to let you know this in advance. We hope to encourage increased volunteer participation, including for the role of Father Christmas. If you know any colleagues who would fit the bill, please let us know!

In the meantime, we wish you and your families the best for the coming holidays.

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Results of the survey on misconduct in the workplace | Résultats de l’enquête sur la conduite prohibée

The Coordinating Committee for Staff Unions and Associations (CCISUA), of which your union is a member, recently undertook a staff survey on harassment, discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse of authority (this survey was distinct from the management survey on sexual harassment only).

We are grateful to the respondents for their time and efforts, which will help us fulfill the primary purpose of the survey: to achieve a better understanding of your experiences and concerns, particularly at a time when the relevant policies are under review. On that note, the results will be shared with senior management globally, including the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and equivalents, as well as relevant review bodies, working groups and the Secretary-General.

While we are pleased to report that over 6600 of you from across the UN System took the survey – with roughly 60% of female respondents – the preliminary findings of the survey are quite shocking. Nearly half of respondents (44%) believe they were subjected to abuse of authority, 40% were the victim of discrimination and 37% experienced harassment at the UN. Over 15% of staff reported suffering sexual harassment in the workplace.

The survey responses also point to a number of alarming patterns:

·         Misconduct is most frequently perpetrated by supervisors (46% in cases of sexual harassment, and over 70% in cases of discrimination, harassment or abuse of authority).

·         Less than one fifth of victims of misconduct chose to file a complaint; the two predominant reasons cited by staff were their lack of trust in the system and fear of retaliation.

·         Amongst staff who did file a complaint, 20% believe they were retaliated against for having done so.

·         Nearly half of investigations took more than one year to complete; staff felt the investigations were conducted in a professional manner in only one third of cases, and were fully satisfied with the outcome in only 10% of cases.

These troubling results point to a veritable crisis in the UN System's management of misconduct in the workplace. The responses to the survey suggest that staff do not feel treated with respect and dignity, and reveal a serious lack of trust in the system.

This survey serves as an important and credible reality check for the Organization on the experiences of staff across the UN System. We will be using your feedback to better inform our discussions with management on proposed changes to the relevant legislation, in order to better protect, you, the staff – the Organizations most valuable asset.

We will provide further detailed survey results in the coming days.

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Update on the new building and outcome of the hot-desking pilot project | Informations mises à jour sur le Plan stratégique patrimonial et conclusions du projet pilote sur le « hot-desking »

You will have seen that the new building H is slowly coming together and the underground car park will soon have a new entrance.

The General Assembly has decreed that all staff in the new building, to be completed in 2020, be subject to hot-desking (variously referred to by the Administration as flexible workspace or smart working)in which there will be 4 desks for every 5 staff. Affected staff include OHCHR, OCHA and the Division of Administration, but, based on concerns received, not UNCTAD, ECE nor the Language Service.

However, we have come to learn that in the Report of the Secretary General to the General Assemblyin its current session, the UN Administration through the SG’s report requested CHF 67 million in additional funds to introduce ventilation in the older buildings of the Palais to allow for the introduction of hot-desking. This request was not consulted with the Staff Council. We will keep you informed of the outcome of this request once the General Assembly makes its final decision.

In preparation for this change in the workspace, a change that has not proven popular in New York and on which the Administration admitted at the last meeting of the Staff-Management Committee (SMC) they were unable to measure a resulting increase in productivity, the Council was invited to try out the pilot hot-desking environment in the Dépendance La Pelouse. We would like to thank the SHP team for inviting us to this space, and the friendliness of all staff working there. Nevertheless, having tried this hot-desking, our conclusions are not encouraging. The main points are as following: 

·         Hot-desking can be a challenge for activities requiring confidentiality. It may be difficult, if not many times impossible, to foresee confidential activities and book a conference room in advance each time. Unexpected confidential phone calls will not be possible without urging the caller to wait while confidential space is found or having to ask to reschedule the call.

·         It is no wonder that colleagues who arrive first in the morning prefer to take places to the back where no one will walk behind them – as to retain a natural level of privacy. Those that arrive later are only left with a choice of desk with the hallway behind them where people walk and have less privacy. Staff are therefore obliged to “compete” for more privileged / less annoying seats.

·         The fact that there are no fixed places makes it difficult to find a particular colleague, therefore losing time when needing to interact directly. This may be particularly troubling for colleagues who interact daily with different colleagues/clients.

·         In general, the noise level is significantly higher than in individual offices as one can hear everything taking place in the open space.

·         As for spontaneous discussions with colleagues, our experience is that in theory they should be moved to other spaces but in practice they take place in the hot-desking environment, disturbing others. This is particularly true to cases when work on the screen in front of somebody has to be debated.

·         Speaking on the fixed phone is often annoying for colleagues sitting nearby and who will unwantedly hear the other person’s conversation, however short one tries to be and however low voice is used. Negative implications for concentration will be inevitable, as well as reticence to discuss issues in detail in order to respect colleagues nearby.

·         For storage space, lockers of any size may not be sufficient to hold all the professional and personal equipment typically found on a desk.

This Economist article on the subject is also worth reading: Open offices can lead to closed minds.

At this stage we would like to remind you that the Council was officially invited to certain SHP planning meetings as of April 2015. The Council conducted a surveyin June 2015 in which many of you expressed your strong concerns with regards to hot-desking and open-plan offices. These were reinforced by a scientific studyundertaken by Swiss company, Ergorama, and a petition signed by over 1,000 of you against open space and hot-desking. The Council itself voted on October 2017 a resolutionof no-confidence in the project as it then was.

While we understand that SHP is bound by General Assembly resolutions we also understand that the GA’s resolutions were also based on the proposals submitted by our Management. We therefore regret that despite best efforts the concerns of staff were for the most part ignored, including many concerns expressed during the focus group meetings organized by the SHP team.

Nevertheless, the Council will need to remain engaged with UNOG leadership and the SHP team in order to make the current project as good as possible.

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Christmas concert this Monday 17 December | Concert de Noël, lundi 17 décembre

You are cordially invited to a free Christmas concert this Monday 17 December at 5.30 p.m. in the Assembly Hall of the Palais des Nations. 

Please drop by to hear a choir perform a one-hour program of festive songs (see flyer below). 

We hope this performance - initiated by staff, for staff - will give a jubilant start to your holiday season!

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Lunch time Christmas concert on Tuesday 11 December | Concert de Noël à midi ce mardi 11 décembre

The Choir of the United Nations Music Club, together with an invited chamber music group, have the pleasure to invite you to a lunch time Christmas concert, to be held this Tuesday 11 December 2018, at 12.30 p.m. in the Salle des pas perdus.

Everyone is most welcome to attend the concert and sing the Christmas Carols along with the choir!

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Update on SAFI and actions by the Council | Informations mises à jour sur le SAFI et actions du Conseil

We would like to update you on developments concerning the financial situation at SAFI and its impact on Staff Council activities. For memory, SAFI has since its foundation been a Swiss-registered commercial operation that pays taxes. It benefits staff in a number of ways: by providing a convenient onsite store; by providing discounted products; and by funding a number of Staff Council activities.

Firstly, the Swiss tax authorities have determined that the funds SAFI provides the Staff Council should be treated as distribution of profit after tax rather than deductible expenses (which they were up to now) before tax. This determination was upheld recently by the tax tribunal despite the SAFI Board appeal, although other determinations were fortunately overturned. However, this unfortunately reduces any annual contribution to the Council by 25 percent. And since this has been backdated to 2014, the result is that three years’ worth of taxes were removed from SAFI’s 2016 contribution to the Council.

Secondly, a number of factors reduced sales by 10 percent between 2016 and 2017. These include a stricter parking policy limiting access by retirees and staff in other organizations, increased requirements by certain manufacturers for the display of their goods, the growth of internet shopping and a continued strong franc. In light of this and of the outcome of the recent legal appeal, this means that income to the Council for the last year is now significantly less than forecast, standing at CHF 98,000.

Thirdly, while SAFI has been allocated an attractive and central location in the Palais for after the completion of the renovations, it would need, to minimize disruption, to move to a temporary facility during the renovations. This will in itself have an impact on costs and be disruptive commercially.

In order to address these developments, the Board is working with SAFI on business planning to integrate these developments, identify strategies to ensure the business remains viable and review income and expenditures. At the same time the Staff Coordinating Council will be reviewing its budget (November 2018 to October 2019) next week to determine how best to integrate these developments and revise spending for items that have yet to be obligated. This will unfortunately affect funding for the time-being for clubs, humanitarian action and staff and children’s parties. (With regards to the upcoming staff party, certain costs had already been contracted before the final results for SAFI were known; nevertheless efforts have been made to find savings where possible.)

At the same time the Council needs to ensure its financial sustainability to ensure it can maintain its strong representation activities. We therefore encourage you to consider becoming dues-paying members, both for the purpose of solidarity and for the benefits that this brings. We will also examine options to ensure a return on financial assets.

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More Articles...

  1. Update on removing limits to GS career development | Informations mises à jour sur l’élimination des barrières qui entravent les perspectives de carrière des agents des services généraux
  2. International Tennis Club - Open Random Doubles every Friday evening | Club international de tennis: Doubles aléatoires tous les vendredis soirs
  3. Staff party on 7 December 2018 | Fête du personnel le vendredi 7 décembre 2018
  4. Campaign to remove barriers to GS career development | Campagne pour l’élimination des barrières pour le passage de la catégorie G à P
  5. Survey on misconduct at the workspace | Sondage sur la conduite prohibée sur le lieu de travail
  6. Share your experiences in the workplace - spread the word through UN Special | UN Special: un moyen de partager votre expérience sur le lieu de travail
  7. UN beach open until Sunday 21 October | La plage de l'ONU est ouverte jusqu'au dimanche 21 octobre
  8. Zumba masterclass at the Palais 2018 | Masterclass de Zumba au Palais 2018
  9. UN Theatre Club registrations 2018-2019 | Inscriptions Club de Théâtre de l'ONU 2018-2019
  10. New changes to the selection policy | Modification de la politique de sélection
  11. UN Badminton Club 2018 | Club de badminton de l’ONU 2018
  12. How your interests were defended at the 65th session of the Pension Board | Comment vos intérêts ont été défendus lors de la 65ème session du Conseil d’administration de la Caisse des pensions
  13. Pay and working hours for staff in the P and above categories in Geneva compared to New York | Salaires et heures de travail pour les fonctionnaires de la catégorie P et au-delà à Genève en comparaison avec New York
  14. Percussion classes at the Palais 2018 | Stage de percussions au Palais 2018
  15. The Swiss tax amnesty is coming to an end – what should you have declared? | L’amnistie fiscale est bientôt terminée. Qu’est-ce qu’il vous faut déclarer?
  16. New Harvard study shows open office environments reduce team interaction and productivity | Une étude de l’Université de Harvard démontre que les bureaux paysagers réduisent la productivité et l’interaction au sein de l’équipe
  17. Friday night is party night at UN Beach | Les vendredis soirs sont des moments de fête à la plage de l’ONU
  18. Salsa classes at the Palais 2018-2019 | Cours de Salsa au Palais 2018-2019
  19. ICSC approves increased and new allowances/ La CFPI introduit de nouvelles indemnités et augmente d'autres
  20. Latin Party this Friday and Swiss national day at UN Beach | Soirée latino ce vendredi et fête nationale à la plage ONU
  21. Update on pay cut and ICSC reform | Informations mises à jour sur les coupures salariales et la réforme de la CFPI
  22. UN Theatre Club - 2018-2019 registrations | Club de Théâtre de l'ONU - Inscriptions pour 2018-2019
  23. UN Appeals Tribunal overturns staff rights + campaign to reform the ICSC | Le Tribunal d’appel des Nations Unies écrase les droits des fonctionnaires & Campagne pour la réforme de la CFPI
  24. Latin party at the UN beach this Friday | Fête latino à la plage de l'ONU ce vendredi
  25. Tennis camp for children during the summer holidays 2018 | Stages de tennis pendant les vacances d’été 2018
  26. Lunch time concert: the great classics | Concert de midi : les grands classiques
  27. Staff garden party this Friday: lunch and evening | Fête champêtre du personnel ce vendredi: midi et soir
  28. UN Theater Club improvisation show, 22 June | Spectacle d'improvisation du Club de Théâtre de l'ONU, 22 juin
  29. Watch the World Cup at the UN Beach | La Coupe du monde à la Plage de l'ONU
  30. New crèche places for UN staff 2018 | Nouvelles places de crèche pour les fonctionnaires de l'ONU 2018
  31. Legal challenge against the pay cut : what’s next | Contestation juridique des coupes salariales : prochaines étapes
  32. Upcoming session of the Staff Management Committee June 2018 | Session du Comité Administration-Personnel - juin 2018
  33. Charity Golf Competition at Jivahill Resort: 3rd Facchinetti Challenge 2018 - 2 June 2018 | 3ème Défi Facchinetti : Compétition de bienfaisance au Jivahill Resort - 2 juin 2018
  34. Tax Compliance - Automatic Exchange of Information | Conformité fiscale - Echange Automatique de Renseignements
  35. Crèche places for UN staff 2018 | Places de crèche pour les fonctionnaires de l'ONU 2018
  36. UN beach opening party this Saturday | Ouverture de la plage de l'ONU samedi
  37. Take part in the Geneva May day march | Participez à la marche de Genève à l’occasion du 1er mai
  38. How the ICSC's decisions last month affect your pay and conditions | Décisions de la CFPI ayant un impact sur votre rémunération et conditions de travail
  39. UN Beach is now open | La plage de l'ONU est désormais ouverte
  40. Where we stand on the campaign to improve our conditions of service | Point sur la campagne pour améliorer nos conditions de service
  41. Third edition of "Courir sans Borne" | Troisième édition de « Courir sans Borne »
  42. Decisions at last month's General Assembly that may affect you | Dernières décisions de l'Assemblée générale ayant un impact sur le personnel
  43. TODAY Townhall on the ICSC campaign and extraordinary assembly | AUJOURD'HUI Réunion générale sur la campagne contre la CFPI et assemblée extraordinaire
  44. Our work programme 2018 | Notre programme de travail 2018
  45. Thank you for your actions on Friday + ICSC update | Merci de votre action du vendredi passé et informations mises à jour sur la CFPI
  46. Legal action against the pay cut 2018 | Action en justice contre les coupes salariales 2018
  47. Second day of strike tomorrow Friday | Deuxième jour de grève : demain vendredi
  48. Call for picket line volunteers for the next strike | Appel à volontaires pour les piquets de grève
  49. Thank you for taking part in the strike - Recap and next steps | Merci d'avoir pris part à la grève - Résumé et prochaines étapes
  50. The strike is on for tomorrow 16 March 2018 - please stay at home | La grève aura lieu demain 16 mars 2018 - restez chez vous
  51. Why the strike is important + information session on Wednesday at 1.15 p.m. | Pourquoi la grève est-elle importante et session d’information le mercredi à 13h15
  52. Consultation on a proposal for a strike | Consultation sur une proposition de grève
  53. Inter-Agency Games 2018 | Jeux Inter-institutions 2018
  54. The women who inspire us on IWD 2018 | Des femmes qui nous inspirent aujourd'hui
  55. How to appeal the pay cut at the Tribunal | Comment contester légalement les coupes de salaire?
  56. Tuesday's staff meeting on the pay cut and next steps | Réunion du mardi sur les coupes salariales et prochaines étapes
  57. Photos and video from the long service medal awards | Photos et vidéo de la cérémonie de remise de médailles pour service prolongé
  58. Staff-management working group recommends 4.4 percent increase in pensions | Le Groupe de travail personnel-administration recommande une augmentation de 4,4% des indemnités de pension
  59. Next steps following Monday's pay cut meeting | Prochaines étapes suite à la réunion de lundi sur les coupes salariales
  60. Professional audit shows Staff Council accounts to be correct and properly maintained | Résultats positifs de la vérification professionnelle des comptes du Conseil de coordination confirme que tout est en ordre
  61. Update on the creche project | Informations mises à jour sur la crèche
  62. Relax and get into shape this autumn with the Well-being & Health Club | Détendez-vous et maintenez votre forme cet automne avec le Club Santé et Bien-Etre
  63. Letter to Secretary-General urging him not to appeal judgment against pay cut in the compensation review | Lettre au Secrétaire général l'appelant à ne pas faire appel du jugement relatif à la baisse des salaires
  64. Long service medal awards ceremony 2018 | Cérémonie de remise de médailles pour service prolongé 2018
  65. Cafeteria to offer discounts to staff in the future | La cafétéria proposera des réductions à tout le personnel
  66. Mandatory age of separation is now 65 for all staff | L'âge obligatoire de départ à la retraite est désormais de 65 ans pour tous les fonctionnaires
  67. Good news for staff pay at the UN Dispute Tribunal | Bonnes nouvelles du Tribunal administratif concernant la rémunération des fonctionnaires
  68. Better news than expected regarding impact on staff of budget cuts | De meilleures nouvelles que prévu concernant l'impact des réductions budgétaires sur le personnel
  69. Happy Holidays from the Staff Council | Joyeuses fêtes de la part du Conseil du personnel
  70. Percussion classes at the Palais 2017-2018 | Stage de percussions au Palais 2017-2018
  71. FROM THE UN STAFF UNIONS: Procurement scandals and cover-ups at pension fund; SG urged not to renew its CEO
  72. Making it easier to come to work by bike | Rendre facile la venue au travail en vélo
  73. 2017 Christmas Concert by the UN Music Club | Concert de Noël du Club de musique de l'ONU 2017
  74. Discounts for UN staff | Rabais spécialement négociés pour les fonctionnaires de l'ONUG
  75. Townhall on parental leave | Réunion sur le congé parental
  76. Swiss nationality | Nationalité suisse
  77. Session on the staff selection system and your rights | Réunion sur le système de sélection et vos droits 11/12/2017
  78. Christmas concert | Concert de Noël 2017
  79. Medical insurance for dependents of Swiss nationals | Assurance médicale pour les personnes à la charge des ressortissants suisses
  80. 2017 Staff party on 8 December | Fête de fin d'année du personnel le 8 décembre 2017
  81. 2017 International Photo Club Annual Contest | Concours annuel du Club photo international 2017
  82. We met with Member States to defend your interests | Nous avons rencontré les Etats membres pour défendre vos intérêts
  83. International Photo Club Annual Contest 2017 | Concours annuel du Club photo international 2017
  84. News on the Pension Fund | Nouvelles concernant la Caisse des pensions
  85. We all have a role to play in eliminating sexual harassment from the workplace | Nous avons tous un rôle à jouer dans l'élimination du harcèlent sexuel sur le lieu de travail
  86. Lunchtime staff event on Place des Nations and intern event at ILO | Événement pour le personnel sur la Place des Nations et événement pour les stagiaires au BIT
  87. Call for volunteers: staff party talent show and parade of nations | Appel à volontaires pour un "talent show" et une parade des nations pour la fête du personnel
  88. Staff Council resolution on SHP expresses serious concerns | Une résolution du Conseil exprime de vives inquiétudes en relation avec le PSP
  89. Session on the staff selection system and your rights | Réunion sur le système de sélection et vos droits
  90. UN Beach open until 22 October | Le Club de la plage de l'ONU ouvert jusqu'au 22 octobre
  91. UN Beach open until 15 October | Le Club de la plage de l'ONU ouvert jusqu'au 15 octobre
  92. Summary of last week's townhall on the pay cut | Résumé de la Réunion générale de la semaine passée sur les coupes salariales
  93. Join the UN Football Club | Devenez membre du Club de football de l'ONU
  94. New training activity of the UNOG Table Tennis Club | Le Club de tennis de table de l'ONUG vous propose une nouvelle activité
  95. Changes to the rules on mandatory age of separation | Amendements des règles relatives à l’âge de la retraite
  96. Dance classes at the UN | Cours de danse à l'ONU
  97. Collection for the victims of the recent earthquake in Mexico | Collecte en faveur des victimes du récent tremblement de terre au Mexique
  98. Meeting with the Geneva private schools association | Rencontre avec l’Association genevoise des écoles privées
  99. Theatre Club starts again on Tuesday 19 September | Le Club de théâtre reprend ses activités le mardi 19 septembre
  100. Update on the legal appeal against the pay cut | Informations mises à jour sur le recours juridique contre les coupes de salaire