Head of WIPO staff association fired in retaliation for whistleblowing

On Friday 19 September 2014, Mr. Moncef Kateb, head of the WIPO staff association was summarily dismissed. This was done in advance of WIPO's annual governing body meeting, where he was expected to criticize the controversial management style and behaviour of Director-General Francis Gurry. Please find here a letter from staff unions of the UN system around the world (http://bit.ly/wipofederationletter) to the governing body of WIPO (the Assemblies of Member States) calling for the reinstatement of Mr. Kateb. The letter was sent prior to his dismissal at a time when he was on suspension without pay, and following his being frogmarched out of the WIPO building by security.

As the letter explains, Mr. Kateb had blown the whistle on several occasions in the past, including on the shipment of sophisticated IT equipment to North Korea, and Mr. Gurry is currently the subject of a preliminary investigation for two different charges (see charge letter here), one for improperly influencing a procurement process, the other for improperly using the Geneva police to obtain the DNA of WIPO staff so as to identify the author of a letter against him.

The letter is signed by the leaders of the three federations of staff unions, representing 120,000 international civil servants around the world. The letter explains that the official reason for suspending and dismissing Mr. Kateb, that he used privileged information to defend colleagues in an internal labour dispute panel, is in any case not an offence. The letter also calls for the identification of a new Director-General capable of inspiring all Member States and staff. The unions strongly reiterate the importance of ensuring that staff, not management, be able to choose who represents them in line with the ILO Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize and the UN's International Convenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Press opportunity: An extraordinary general assembly of staff in support of Mr. Moncef will take place on Monday 22 September, the first day of the governing body, at 5 p.m. in the public space which is located between the new WIPO office building and the new WIPO conference hall at 34 chemin des Colombettes, Geneva.

Letter to the governing body of WIPO: http://bit.ly/wipofederationletter

For more information: Brett Fitzgerald, General Sectary, Federation of International Civil Servants' Associations, +41 76 532 8334, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.