Council condemns three percent cuts

The staff unions of the United Nations have issued a joint statement to the Secretary-General condemning his 7 March instruction in which he gave heads of offices and departments 48 hours to cut three percent from their 2012-2013 budget proposals. The UNOG Staff Coordinating Council is a co-author of this statement.

The instruction came as a surprise to all staff in Geneva, including senior management. As a result, they were not given time to consult with the Council on the scope and impact of these cuts, as required by the rules, nor with each other.

In order to understand the scale of the situation, the Council met or communicated informally last week with department heads and administration chiefs. Following these meetings, the Council's Executive Bureau convened an emergency session on Monday 21 March, where it agreed the following:

  • to support and contribute to the joint statement referred to above;
  • to request the convening of a special meeting of the staff-management Joint Negotiating Committee to discuss the implementation of formal consultation procedures; and
  • to encourage all senior managers to keep their staff informed on developments.

The Bureau also noted that staff-management consultations which took place in 2010 following budget cuts ensured that a significant number of staff positions were saved.

The Council reiterates that while it understands the difficult global situation, cuts should only be taken in the context of an overall plan that includes full consideration and study of the potential impact these may have on staff and on the ability of the Organization to fulfill its mandate.

We will keep you updated on this matter.