March 15, 2018

UN staff in Geneva to protest pay cut

UN staff in Geneva to protest pay cut

Geneva – UN staff in Geneva have called for protest on Friday after winning support from 90 per cent of more than 1,000 employees who cast ballots, the staff council said on Thursday.

The rare move will shut down the Human Rights Council and other meetings held at the UN European headquarters in the Swiss city.

Angry UN staff in Geneva started protesting in May 2017 against a 7.5 per cent cut from
their salaries, the equivalent of almost a month’s pay, which now took effect on professional level staff.

The salary cut was proposed by International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), a group of independent experts who surveyed the cost of living in eight UN locations.

It said the cut for Geneva-based staff would align them with colleagues in New York, where purchasing power had dropped.

“The first day of strike is Friday, March 16, 2018, therefore, please stay at home,” an email to staff from the staff council, read.

The council added that “no demonstration was planned and work was to resume on Monday.

“The results of the vote are hugely positive and show your courage in saying a big NO to efforts by the ICSC and our employer to weaken our conditions of service, in an arbitrary manner.

“You also said NO to intimidatory emails from management.”

UN officials said some events, including the main news conference were being maintained but had no other details. (Reuters/NAN)