News

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

Please find below an update from the UN participant representatives to the Pension Board who attended the 65th session of the Pension Board in Rome from 26 July – 3 August 2018.

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Dear UN Family Colleagues, 

The Pension Board met from 26 July to 3 August in Rome. This was the first meeting since action was taken by us last year to prevent the full extension of the CEO’s contract. At the same time, the Deputy CEO announced he would not seek a second term.  

Our campaign to reform the Fund is slowly bearing fruit and we acknowledge the efforts of the Secretary-General’s representatives to the Board for trying to build a consensus for change, as well as the appointment of a new head of investments. However, our work is still in progress. So while important decisions were taken by the Board, we do not believe all of them will benefit the current and future beneficiaries of the Fund. For this we made sure to put our disagreement with those decisions on record; our positions are explained below. 

For memory, the Board is composed of 33 members, split equally between representatives elected by staff (participants of the fund), appointed by heads of organizations and elected by the governing bodies of each organization. Of the 11 participants’ representatives, 4 members and 2 alternates represent participants at the UN i.e. you. 

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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

You will recall that during townhall meetings a number of you pointed out that working hours in Geneva are on average 40 minutes longer than in New York. Working hours in Geneva are 8 hours a day while in New York they are 7 hours a day from January to August and 8 hours a day from September to December. 

For General Service staff the 8 hour day in Geneva is established by benchmarking to the local labour market. Thus GS hours are benchmarked to Geneva hours and GS pay is benchmarked to Geneva pay. 

The current situation for staff in the Professional and above categories is different. P (and above categories) hours are benchmarked to Geneva hours but P (and above categories) pay is benchmarked to New York pay via a cost-of-living adjustment (recently enforced, although we believe incorrectly, by the ICSC). 

We have therefore written to the Director-General, Mr. Michael Møller, who together with the Secretary-General has responsibility for this matter, asking that this anomaly be corrected. We believe that according to the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, the working hours of P (and above categories) in Geneva should be aligned with P (and above categories) working hours in New York. Failing that, P (and above categories) salaries in Geneva should be increased to equivalent Swiss salaries (which used to be case until the late 1970s). 

We are aware that many colleagues are working beyond office hours. However, this isn’t about calculating the appropriate number of office hours for a particular task, but ensuring basic workplace principles. Further, the problem of excessive hours affects all duty stations and is related to the equally important but separate issue of understaffing. 

Some have noted that were P (and above categories) working hours in Geneva to be reduced, they would be different to GS working hours. We don’t see this as an issue, as all staff have a responsibility to discharge the work assigned to them. 

Others have noted that working hours are shorter in New York because of commuting times. We have found no evidence of this and believe that UN policy is to pay for work performed not miles commuted. 

Some have also pointed out that pushing to reduce working hours for P (and above categories) staff may encourage a flow of jobs out of Geneva. We would argue that on this logic, the fact that Geneva currently has the longest working hours in the system should have meant jobs flooding here from elsewhere, which does not appear to have been the case. Further the jobs most likely to move from Geneva and for which we are fighting against separately, are unfortunately in the GS category and would not be affected by our proposal. 

While this proposal will not compensate for the pay cut, for which we are pushing for reforms to the system and are contesting in the tribunals, we do feel that the ICSC’s attention to ensuring pay parity between Geneva and New York should be matched equally by attention from our employer to ensuring working hour parity between the two duty stations. 

We will keep you updated as we move forward.

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Percussion classes at the Palais 2018 | Stage de percussions au Palais 2018

The United Nations Music Club offers all UN staff members the opportunity to be introduced to World Percussion. Two new fifteen-week initiation courses will start from (every) Friday 14 September until Friday 21 December 2018. Applicants can select the 12:00 to 12:40 class (beginners) or 12:40 to 13:20 (advanced) classes according to their availability and musical level. 

You will learn the basics and more with an excellent professional teacher who is fluent in English, French and Spanish. It is not necessary to have any previous knowledge of music or percussion. Your contribution per lesson will be only 15 Swiss Francs. The entire course will cost 225 Swiss Francs. All instruments will be provided by the UN Music Club at no cost. 

Classes will last 40 minutes and will be held during the lunch breaks, on Fridays from 12 noon to 12.40 p.m. (beginners) and 12.40 - 1.20 p.m. (advanced) The practice room is E-51 (E-building, ground floor). 

To register and/or get more information, please email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Do not miss this opportunity to learn to play percussion in ideal conditions!

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6th meeting of the 36th Council

The Council will hold its 6th meeting on Thursday 30 August 2018 at 1.15 p.m. in Room S4.

Relevant documents can be found here:

Proposed agenda

Draft minutes of the 5th meeting

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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?

You will recall our broadcast of 18 May 2018 in which we notified you that the current Swiss tax amnesty in place for declaring unpaid taxes would expire at the end of September.
 
Taxable income can include any income that is not from a UN staff salary. Thus income from bank interest, rents, and UN and UNOPS consultancies and ICA contracts (Carte de Légitimation H) earned in Switzerland are taxable. (Further, any income earned while holding a Carte de Légitimation H may be subject to payment of both employer and employee social security contributions.) Income from abroad may also be taxable, depending on double taxation agreements, and to this end we remind you that as of this year countries have started the automatic exchange of bank account information.
 
We recommend that you contact your tax office should you need to clarify your fiscal situation. More information on the amnesty and how to benefit from it is here.

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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

As construction advances on the H building as part of the Palais renovations (SHP),and knowing that the H building is intended to house hotdesking/flexible workspace, we would like to share with you a new study conducted by researchers at Harvard University on the effects on human interaction of open office environments. Called: “The impact of the ‘open’ workspace on human collaboration”, you can find it here.
 
The study is important because it measures scientifically how open office space affects employees’ interaction, whether face-to-face (F2F), by email or instant messaging (IM).
 
While the proponents of open office space and associated forms such as hotdesking/flexible workspace have expounded their importance for increasing teamwork and human interaction, the study shows that “the volume of face-to-face interaction decreased significantly (approx. 70%)… with an associated increase in electronic interaction”. It goes on to note that, “in short, rather than prompting increasingly vibrant F2F collaboration, open architecture appeared to trigger a natural human response to socially withdraw from officemates and interact instead over email and IM”.
 
It concludes that “it is not necessarily surprising that productivity declined due to a substitution of email for face-to-face interaction. What is surprising is that more open, transparent architecture prompted such a substitution.” It explains this by noting that “transitions to open office architecture do not necessarily promote open interaction”.
 
“Consistent with the fundamental human desire for privacy and prior evidence that privacy may increase productivity, when office architecture makes everyone more observable or ‘transparent’, it can dampen F2F interaction, as employees find other strategies to preserve their privacy; for example, by choosing a different channel through which to communicate. Rather than have an F2F interaction in front of a large audience of peers, an employee might look around, see that a particular person is at his or her desk, and send an email.” 

The study has been reported extensively in the media and we encourage you, if you do not have time to read the study, to peruse the links below. We will be following up on this issue. 

The Economist:  Open offices can lead to closed minds

PBS:  Here’s proof that open office layouts don’t work, and how to fix them

Washington Post:  Open office plans are as bad as you thought

Forbes:  How Open Plan Offices Impact Collaboration

The Register:  Open plan offices flop – you talk less, IM more, if forced to flee a cubicle

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More Articles...

  1. Friday night is party night at UN Beach | Les vendredis soirs sont des moments de fête à la plage de l’ONU
  2. Salsa classes at the Palais 2018-2019 | Cours de Salsa au Palais 2018-2019
  3. ICSC approves increased and new allowances/ La CFPI introduit de nouvelles indemnités et augmente d'autres
  4. Latin Party this Friday and Swiss national day at UN Beach | Soirée latino ce vendredi et fête nationale à la plage ONU
  5. Update on pay cut and ICSC reform | Informations mises à jour sur les coupures salariales et la réforme de la CFPI
  6. UN Theatre Club - 2018-2019 registrations | Club de Théâtre de l'ONU - Inscriptions pour 2018-2019
  7. 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
  8. Latin party at the UN beach this Friday | Fête latino à la plage de l'ONU ce vendredi
  9. Tennis camp for children during the summer holidays 2018 | Stages de tennis pendant les vacances d’été 2018
  10. Lunch time concert: the great classics | Concert de midi : les grands classiques
  11. Staff garden party this Friday: lunch and evening | Fête champêtre du personnel ce vendredi: midi et soir
  12. UN Theater Club improvisation show, 22 June | Spectacle d'improvisation du Club de Théâtre de l'ONU, 22 juin
  13. Watch the World Cup at the UN Beach | La Coupe du monde à la Plage de l'ONU
  14. New crèche places for UN staff 2018 | Nouvelles places de crèche pour les fonctionnaires de l'ONU 2018
  15. Legal challenge against the pay cut : what’s next | Contestation juridique des coupes salariales : prochaines étapes
  16. Upcoming session of the Staff Management Committee June 2018 | Session du Comité Administration-Personnel - juin 2018
  17. 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
  18. Tax Compliance - Automatic Exchange of Information | Conformité fiscale - Echange Automatique de Renseignements
  19. Crèche places for UN staff 2018 | Places de crèche pour les fonctionnaires de l'ONU 2018
  20. UN beach opening party this Saturday | Ouverture de la plage de l'ONU samedi
  21. Take part in the Geneva May day march | Participez à la marche de Genève à l’occasion du 1er mai
  22. 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
  23. UN Beach is now open | La plage de l'ONU est désormais ouverte
  24. Where we stand on the campaign to improve our conditions of service | Point sur la campagne pour améliorer nos conditions de service
  25. Third edition of "Courir sans Borne" | Troisième édition de « Courir sans Borne »
  26. Decisions at last month's General Assembly that may affect you | Dernières décisions de l'Assemblée générale ayant un impact sur le personnel
  27. TODAY Townhall on the ICSC campaign and extraordinary assembly | AUJOURD'HUI Réunion générale sur la campagne contre la CFPI et assemblée extraordinaire
  28. 4th meeting of the 36th Council
  29. Our work programme 2018 | Notre programme de travail 2018
  30. Thank you for your actions on Friday + ICSC update | Merci de votre action du vendredi passé et informations mises à jour sur la CFPI
  31. Legal action against the pay cut 2018 | Action en justice contre les coupes salariales 2018
  32. Second day of strike tomorrow Friday | Deuxième jour de grève : demain vendredi
  33. Call for picket line volunteers for the next strike | Appel à volontaires pour les piquets de grève
  34. Thank you for taking part in the strike - Recap and next steps | Merci d'avoir pris part à la grève - Résumé et prochaines étapes
  35. The strike is on for tomorrow 16 March 2018 - please stay at home | La grève aura lieu demain 16 mars 2018 - restez chez vous
  36. 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
  37. Consultation on a proposal for a strike | Consultation sur une proposition de grève
  38. Inter-Agency Games 2018 | Jeux Inter-institutions 2018
  39. The women who inspire us on IWD 2018 | Des femmes qui nous inspirent aujourd'hui
  40. How to appeal the pay cut at the Tribunal | Comment contester légalement les coupes de salaire?
  41. Tuesday's staff meeting on the pay cut and next steps | Réunion du mardi sur les coupes salariales et prochaines étapes
  42. Photos and video from the long service medal awards | Photos et vidéo de la cérémonie de remise de médailles pour service prolongé
  43. 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
  44. Next steps following Monday's pay cut meeting | Prochaines étapes suite à la réunion de lundi sur les coupes salariales
  45. 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
  46. Update on the creche project | Informations mises à jour sur la crèche
  47. 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
  48. 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
  49. Long service medal awards ceremony 2018 | Cérémonie de remise de médailles pour service prolongé 2018
  50. Cafeteria to offer discounts to staff in the future | La cafétéria proposera des réductions à tout le personnel
  51. 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
  52. Good news for staff pay at the UN Dispute Tribunal | Bonnes nouvelles du Tribunal administratif concernant la rémunération des fonctionnaires
  53. 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
  54. Happy Holidays from the Staff Council | Joyeuses fêtes de la part du Conseil du personnel
  55. Percussion classes at the Palais 2017-2018 | Stage de percussions au Palais 2017-2018
  56. FROM THE UN STAFF UNIONS: Procurement scandals and cover-ups at pension fund; SG urged not to renew its CEO
  57. Making it easier to come to work by bike | Rendre facile la venue au travail en vélo
  58. 2017 Christmas Concert by the UN Music Club | Concert de Noël du Club de musique de l'ONU 2017
  59. Discounts for UN staff | Rabais spécialement négociés pour les fonctionnaires de l'ONUG
  60. Townhall on parental leave | Réunion sur le congé parental
  61. Swiss nationality | Nationalité suisse
  62. Session on the staff selection system and your rights | Réunion sur le système de sélection et vos droits 11/12/2017
  63. Christmas concert | Concert de Noël 2017
  64. Medical insurance for dependents of Swiss nationals | Assurance médicale pour les personnes à la charge des ressortissants suisses
  65. 2017 Staff party on 8 December | Fête de fin d'année du personnel le 8 décembre 2017
  66. 2017 International Photo Club Annual Contest | Concours annuel du Club photo international 2017
  67. We met with Member States to defend your interests | Nous avons rencontré les Etats membres pour défendre vos intérêts
  68. International Photo Club Annual Contest 2017 | Concours annuel du Club photo international 2017
  69. News on the Pension Fund | Nouvelles concernant la Caisse des pensions
  70. 10th meeting of the 35th Council
  71. 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
  72. 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
  73. 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
  74. Staff Council resolution on SHP expresses serious concerns | Une résolution du Conseil exprime de vives inquiétudes en relation avec le PSP
  75. Session on the staff selection system and your rights | Réunion sur le système de sélection et vos droits
  76. UN Beach open until 22 October | Le Club de la plage de l'ONU ouvert jusqu'au 22 octobre
  77. UN Beach open until 15 October | Le Club de la plage de l'ONU ouvert jusqu'au 15 octobre
  78. Summary of last week's townhall on the pay cut | Résumé de la Réunion générale de la semaine passée sur les coupes salariales
  79. 9th meeting of the 35th Council
  80. Join the UN Football Club | Devenez membre du Club de football de l'ONU
  81. New training activity of the UNOG Table Tennis Club | Le Club de tennis de table de l'ONUG vous propose une nouvelle activité
  82. Changes to the rules on mandatory age of separation | Amendements des règles relatives à l’âge de la retraite
  83. Dance classes at the UN | Cours de danse à l'ONU
  84. Collection for the victims of the recent earthquake in Mexico | Collecte en faveur des victimes du récent tremblement de terre au Mexique
  85. Meeting with the Geneva private schools association | Rencontre avec l’Association genevoise des écoles privées
  86. Theatre Club starts again on Tuesday 19 September | Le Club de théâtre reprend ses activités le mardi 19 septembre
  87. Update on the legal appeal against the pay cut | Informations mises à jour sur le recours juridique contre les coupes de salaire
  88. 8th meeting of the 35th Council
  89. Staff Council statement for World Humanitarian Day and petition | Intervention du Conseil de coordination du personnel à l'occasion de la Journée humanitaire mondiale et péitition
  90. Summer's not yet over at UN Beach | L’été n’est pas encore fini à la plage de l’ONU
  91. Percussion classes at the Palais | Stage de percussions au Palais
  92. New crèche places for UN staff | Nouvelles places de crèche pour les fonctionnaires de l'ONU
  93. Action to take on legal cases regarding pay cuts | Mesures à prendre concernant la procédure juridique contre les coupes salariales
  94. Important news on the pay cut | Nouvelles importantes sur les coupes salariales
  95. Tennis camp for children during the summer holidays | Stages de tennis pendant les vacances d’été
  96. Your last chance to oppose the salary cut | Votre dernière chance de s'opposer aux coupes salariales
  97. Children's sailing courses and evening yacht cruises at the UN Beach Club | Cours d’initiation à la voile pour enfants et Croisières en yacht au Club de la plage de l'ONU
  98. Townhall tomorrow with important updates on the pay cut | Réunion générale sur les principaux développements relatifs aux coupes salariales
  99. Legal action against the pay cut (template form) | Action en justice contre les coupes salariales (formulaire type)
  100. Legal action against the pay cut | Action en justice contre les coupes salariales