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Labor Union of 176 Million Slams Ban's Walk Out on Staff, Like Ban on Dissent

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 26 – The “crisis” in labor relations in the UN of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, which Inner City Press profiled on June 16, has been noticed by a major international labor confederation with 176 million members.

  The International Trade Union Confederation has today written to Ban Ki-moon expressing “shock” at his decisions, which they say are “especially disconcerting given that the UN is meant to set a positive example for the world’s governments, based on respect for fundamental human rights.”

  Inner City Press has obtained the ITUC letter and puts it online here. It refers to Ban's Secretariat's walk out of the Mexico City meetings, and does not accept him blaming it on the General Assembly.

  The ITUC letter states that “labor-management relations within the UN system have long been in a state of crisis. This previously came to a head in 2011, when major budget cuts were announced without prior consultations with staff representatives about the decision or its effects. The establishment of a new Staff-Management Committee (SMC), meant to strengthen staff management relations and bring the procedures of the UN more into line with those of the UN Charter and ILO Conventions, was a step in the right direction.

"However, the SMC II, which took place this month in Mexico City, is evidence of an ongoing crisis within the UN. We understand that one of the central agenda items was proposed changes to the Secretary-General's Bulletin (SGB) which would strip the staff of negotiating rights.”

  Just as the UN is not living up to the principles espoused by its International Labor Organization, the UN's talk about freedom of the press and of association is called into question by its recent attempts to outlaw even a single sign of the Free UN Coalition for Access, which is pressing for more media access and, relatedly, for better treatment of the the audio visual workers the UN uses. Watch this site.

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