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In Corrupt UN Of Guterres New COVID 19 Rules at UNESCO Slammed by Staff Unions

By Matthew Russell Lee & sources, Exclusive

UN GATE, March 28 –  From the corrupt UN of Antonio Guterres in New York, the whole UN system has been systematically corrupted, including UNESCO. 

Inner City Press, banned from the UN by Guterres, has reported exclusively on the appalling situation at UNESCO. Now this:

Inner City Press covered extensively the poor decision making at UNESCO regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that put staff and ambassadors at risk. See previous reports here  and here.

  On 13 March, Inner City Press informed about the situation regarding the working conditions under the COVID-19 constraints at the corrupted UNESCO (here )     In her typical style of uncompromisingly following the decisions of the French government, DG Audrey Azoulay has imposed a return to work in the office for all staff as of March 14. This has created quite a stir among staff members.  We also wrote that further reactions were expected from UNESCO's staff unions later this coming week. The statements made by the two associations against the Azoulay administration are particularly harsh with reason.    

The ISAU President Maxime Bun noted namely in his message to the staff :  From : AIPU at unesco dot org to : Liste.UNESCO-HQ ; Liste.UNESCO-FIELD; Liste.IIEP

Subject : Back to office measures  “Dear colleagues, Many of you shared with us your surprise, and even anger, following the Administration’s sudden announcement of an almost immediate return to the office. As soon as this decision of March 10 was taken, a decision that we consider hasty, clumsy and incomprehensible, ISAU took action. In fact, as of Monday 14 March, during a meeting with DIR/HRM, ISAU expressed its disagreement with:  The suspension of the current telework policy; The significant delay in the publication of the flexible working arrangements policy; The last-minute announcement of the decision to return to the office: this lack of foresight does not leave enough time for colleagues to organize themselves according to their personal and family obligations.  Having received no valid explanation, we sent an email to ADG/ADM the following day, informing him of the feelings of frustration, disappointment and incomprehension that the decision to immediately return to the office has generated. ISAU thus requested: The postponement of the decision to return to the office; The release of the results of the online survey; The communication of the issuing date of the flexible working arrangements policy.  Even if ADG/ADM did acknowledge, in his response, that the decision to return to the office was communicated too late, he did not provide a clear answer as to the exact date of publication of the flexible working arrangements policy. We therefore sent a second email to ADG/ADM on March 17 asking specifically to: Cancel the suspension of the current telework policy (thus allowing colleagues to continue teleworking); and Immediately communicate, to all staff, the date of publication of the policy on flexible working arrangements. (…)  It is more than ever necessary for the Administration to listen to its staff and take the necessary measures to put an end to the growing anger and frustration felt by a large number of colleagues.

As ISAU has repeatedly said, staff well-being must be a priority, and this, in the interest of the Organization”.  From its side the UNESCO Staff Union (STU) was also very clear in its position against these measures by the Azoulay administration:

“From: STU Secretariat unesco.stu at unesco dot org To: Liste.UNESCO-HQ; Liste.IIEP; Liste.UNESCO-FIELD Subject: STU - Retour au bureau / Return to Office Importance: High  Dear colleagues, On Thursday 10 March 2022, ADG/ADM sent a note to HQ staff asking everyone to return to office on a full-time basis as of Monday 14 March 2022, providing the latest recommendations of the host country as the basis for the decision. Although the host country, while lifting teleworking as an obligation, recommends the establishment of a dialogue between employers and employees to jointly define best suited work conditions, this decision has fallen on UNESCO staff without any previous discussion or exchange.  In a context where COVID-19 cases are currently increasing and while other international organizations based in Europe, including in Paris, continue teleworking, many staff members find it difficult to understand the rationale for the return to a full-time presence working modality. (…) Therefore, the decision to rush back to the “old normality” does not seem to consider neither the benefits of telework as highlighted by both WHO and ILO, nor the lessons learned from the past two years and lacks consideration for crucial dimensions such as work-life balance, gender equality and impact on the environment of human activity.(…)  Concerning the sanitary measures described in the announcement and the immediate suspension of the majority of precautions put in place to limit the propagation of COVID, this is also a source of concern among staff. Many colleagues are uncomfortable and feel that their health may be exposed to unnecessary risks. The proposed changes including but not limited to office sharing, elimination of distancing measures, and the suspension of the obligation of visitors to present a vaccination pass seem premature, particularly in the absence of clear measures to be immediately applied in the event of new cases.  Based on the above, STU finds this decision untimely, inappropriate and in contradiction with Director-General’s reiterated recognition for what has been collectively, innovatively and creatively achieved by the staff while delivering on a teleworking modality.

Furthermore, this decision goes in the opposite direction of the views expressed by the staff in the survey conducted late February.   In this regard, STU regrets the delayed publication of the new teleworking policy, discussed with HRM and ADM in summer 2020, as well as the suspension of the previous teleworking policy. STU will continue to work and dialogue with the Administration so that a comprehensive and flexible teleworking policy is urgently finalized and proposed to staff.” 

The above messages of concern show the importance of having solid and influential staff unions and associations within the UN. Only by denouncing transparently and acting together and with member states’ support, corruption, embezzlement and abuse of power could have a chance to be brought to an end.  Inner City Press will closely observe the response to the concerns expressed and inform of any corrective action. The situation at UNESCO is obviously worrisome, but it is not yet enough for the ambassadors to begin to rectify the corrupt and incompetent management style of  DG Audrey Azoulay. 

This is where UNESCO is today, an agency where corruption, embezzlement, moral and sexual harassment, abuse of power and nepotism thrive.  We'll have more on this. Watch this site


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