Salaries will not be cut

The UN's budget for 2012-2013 was passed on Christmas eve. Thanks in part to a large mobilization by staff, the proposal to cut salaries by 8-10 percent did not make it through. As you will recall in our message of 22 December, the staff unions of the United Nations took a very strong position on this matter backed up by a communication campaign and meetings with member states. We thank you all for supporting that position and showing the world that while staff are dedicated to their work they are also ready to protect their working conditions.

 

The new budget is five percent less than its predecessor but is unlikely to lead to job losses in Geneva at this stage; the worst has therefore been avoided. This is partly down to concerted discussions with senior management in Geneva and New York through the year, where the importance of protecting you the staff, our organization's greatest asset, has repeatedly been emphasized. Separately we also worked hard in December to prevent a management proposal for a mandatory hiring and promotions freeze at ECE and UNCTAD.

The Secretary-General has indicated that further savings will need to be found. Indeed, we cannot ignore the difficult times many member states face, while all the while, the global challenges our organization must address continue to increase. As the Staff Coordinating Council, our role now is to ensure that such savings do not come at the expense of you, our hard-working colleagues, or that of your family, but that reforms and efficiency gains focus instead on how the organization goes about its business and how we can all help it deliver more and better to meet the world's high expectations. This is the approach that will continue to guide our very close engagement with management in Geneva and New York.

Looking ahead: the next General Assembly will discuss a number of important human resources matters, including mobility; we are preparing for the next local salary survey, important for the salaries of General Service staff; the ICSC will begin to discuss pensionable remuneration and we will train representatives so that we can provide substantive contributions to support the defence of our interests.

It is quite a task but together we can work it. To this end we look forward to your continued and active support and wish you all the best for 2012.